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Spring 2004 

Mind's Eye 

A Liberal Arts Journal 
Massachusetts College of Libera] Arts 

A Close Reading of "The Defence of Guenevere" by William Morris 

By Shirleen Selim 

Bringing the Sacred Sheep Home 

By Ben Jacques 

Indignant I : Graphic Arts as an Expression of Social Criticism 

By David Russell 

Media, Ethics and Technology: Law and Disorder in Cyber City 

By Paul E. LeSage 

Invisible Women: A Look at the Lives of Six Teen Mothers in Pittsfield 

Book Review by Richard Taskin 

A Bard for the Senses and the Intellect 

Book Review by Meera Tamaya 


Mind's Eye 

A Liberal Arts Journal 

SPRING 2004 

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 

Editorial Board 

Bill Montgomery, Managing Editor 
Robert. Bonce 
Harold Srdtettan 
Suml Colligan 
Abbot Cutler 
Tony Gengarelly 
Steve Green 
Leon Peters 
Meera Tamaya 
Arlene Bouras, Copy Editor 

Advisory Board 

James MacGrcgor Burns. Professor of history and political science, 
University of Maryland 
Stephen Fix. Professor of English. Williams College 
Thomas Green. Professor of law and history, University of Michigan 
Mary Huber, Carnegie Foundation scholar 
l.ea Newman, Professor of English emerila, Massachusetts College of Liberal A rts 
Joseph Thompson, Director of MASS MoCA 

© 2004 The Mind's Eye 
ISSN 1098-0512 

Imp:// www.rn.da. /Publications/ 

The Mind's Eye, a journal of scholarly and creative work, is published twice 
annually by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. While emphasizing articles 
ot scholarly merit, The Mind's Eye focuses on a general communication of ideas 
of interest to a liberal arts college. We welcome expository essays, including 
reviews, as well as fiction, poetry and art. Please refer to the inside back cover 
for a list of writer's guidelines. 

A yearly subscription to The Mind's Eye is $15. Send check or money order 
to The Mind's Eye, CIO Bill Montgomery, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. 
375 Church Street, North Adams, MA 01247, 

Mind's Eye 

SPRING 2004 

Editor's File 

A Close Reading of "The Defence of Guenevere" 
by William Morris 

By Shirleen Sclim 

Bringing the Sacred Sheep Home 

By Ben Jacques 1 

Indignant I : Graphic Arts as an Expression of 
Social Criticism 

By David Russell 3 

Media, Ethics and Technology: Law and Disorder 
in Cyber City 

By Paul E. LeSage 4 

Invisible Women: A Look at the Lives of Six Teen 
Mothers in Pittsfield 

Book Review by Richard Taskin 5 

A Bard for the Senses and the Intellect 

Book Review by Meera Tamaya ' 

Contributors < 

On the Cover: David Russell, The New Boss, 2002 
Pen and ink on paper 
After the work of Thomas Nast 

Editor's File 

Shirleen Selim introduces our new issue by reflecting on William 
Morris' seemingly prophetic poem "The Defence of Guenevere," 
and on Morris' subsequent marriage to Jane Burden, who 
promptly betrayed him with his younger friend Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 
Did Morris foresee the turmoil in Iris own marriage? Selim has no 
certain answer, but her investigation of his poem uncovers perennial 
literary themes ol love and adultery. Ben Jacques describes a better 
relationship, one between the Navajo people and their hardy, resil- 
ient sheep, the Churros. Brought to the New World by Spanish ex- 
plorers, the Churros thrive on the rough landscape of New Mexico, 
yet in the middle of the last century, they were almost driven to 
extinction by drought and uncomprehending officials of the federal 
government. Jacques, who has traveled to see Ihc Churros for him- 
self, depicts their rescue and renewed place in the culture of the 
Southwest. Turning to a more complicated lifestyle, communications 
professor Paul LeSage confronts the awkward ethical and legal prob- 
lems of the Internet. What recourse do we have against those who 
would deluge us with spam? Can the courts really protect us against 
fraud and pornography? Can they protect us from our own govern- 
ment in its pursuit of terrorists? How can we use the bounty of VVeb 
inlormation without running afoul of copyright laws? There are no 
easy answers, and LeSage warns that much of the responsibility for 
untangling these riddles will ultimately be ours. "Artist David Russell 
takes us into the world of visual messages with his updating of classic 
protest drawings. Responding to originals by Honore Daumier, Kathe 
Kollwitz, Otto Dix and Thomas Nasi, Russell has created modern ana- 
logues reflecting the new issues and new contexts that concern us 
today. In conclusion, attorney Richard Taskfn reviews Joanna Upper's 
disheartening portrait of teenage motherhood in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 
while Meera Tamaya takes on Lukas Erne's new study of Shakespeare 
that emphasizes both his theatrical and his literary ambitions. 

We close with an important word of thanks to Tony Gengarelly 
lor his years of service to the journaf as Managing Editor. As we look 
to the future of The Mind's Eye, we hope to uphold his standards and 
emulate his cheerful, civilizing presence in its pages. 

4 The Mind's Eye 

A Close Reading of 
'The Defence of 
Guenevere" by 
William Morris 


In 1857, the poet and architect William Morris and the poet and 
painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti went to the theater with a group of 
their friends, where they met a young woman named Jane Bur- 
den. Both Morris and Rossetti were captivated by her beauty, and it 
was not long before Morris married her. At some point in their friend- 
ship, Rossetti and Jane embarked upon an affair that was to greatly 
affect the lives of all three people. Both Morris and Rossetti were fas- 
cinated and inspired by the art and literature of the Middle Ages and 
started a decorative arts company together, through which they aimed 
to revive the ideals of beauty and handcraftsmanship that they fell 
were being lost in the age of industrialization, in a case of art and life's 
mutually feeding upon each other, the love triangle involving Morris, 
Rossetti and Jane would closely parallel thai of King Arthur, Guenevere 
and Lancelot. Jane, their Guenevere, would become caught between 
her king and his best knight, Rossetti. 

In his poem "The Defence of Guenevere," Morris begins in the 
midst of action. The very first line says, "But, knowing now that they 
would have her speak." "The poem was remarkable in being the first 
literary presentation of Lancelot and Guenevere's tragic love affair from 
the woman's point of view" (Whitaker 275). There is the expectation 
of an answer from Guenevere herself to some question or incident. 

This Mind's Eye 5 

Shirleen Selim 

The identity of who "they" are is not given yet, nor their gender, but 
Guenevere is already presented as an identifiable individual by the 
"She" (line 2). She has already taken the role of protagonist, while 
their figures are yet to be given form. 

Whatever had been taking place has just been interrupted. 
Guenevere's hair is still wet. which! gives the reader the sense that she 
has been caught at a private moment — she isn't yet ready for public 
presentation. The reader and the knights are intruding, which by 
rule of courtesy and propriety gives the right of way to Guenevere. 
Yet she feels shame — but it isn't the shame of doing something wrong; 
it is the shame of feeling shame. She doesn't regret or feel embar- 
rassed for whatever it is that happened— "And feeling it shameful to 
feel ought but shame/Ail through her heart, yet felt her cheek burned 
so" (5-6)— and "her head [is]/StilJ lifted up" (8-9). She is still self- 
possessed and dignified despite her tears. 

Guenevere then presents a situation that is bleak and desolate to 
start off her argument. Suppose, she tells her accusers, that they were 
dying and alone with no hope and someone suddenly approached 
and presented them with an alternative. What would they do? She 
appeals to her listeners' human sympathy, and is careful not to appear 
too defiant, Rather, what she is about to tell was almost a natural and 
inevitable result of a hopeless situation, and, of course, "such great 
lords" (15) would have known better than she. Her tone is deferen- 
tial, but also has a hint of mockery beneath the surface. So, though 
she has to explain herself, she is in control of things and has enough 
cunfidence in the solidity of her defense that she isn't struck dumb by 
the accusation. Her marriage was unsatisfactory, for though she had 
"broad lands running well" (20), the "wind was ruffling up the nar- 
row streak" (19). She had plenty in the way of material possessions — 
property — but the river was narrow in proportion to the land and the 
wind was blowing against its natural flow. But the river "run Is] well" 
(20), so Guenevere does still have feeling for Arthur. The water could 
be read as love, or the elemental force or spirit needed to sustain all 
life. Contrasted with this dry and chilly scenario of "well-known things 
past now and dead" (12) is how she appears at present — her hair is 
soaked and her face is flushed with warmth, or "flame" (9), 

Guenevere is then asked by the angel to choose one of two cloths 
that represent heaven and hell. She is not told which is which and 
must make the choice from their outward appearance. In my opinion, 
Morris is presenting here his wife's defense of her affair with Rossetti. 
Jane, when presented with two choices, chose the one that she thought 
was the better. When Morris and Rossetti met Jane during their work 
on the Oxford murals, they were both attracted to her. Jane, daughter 

6 The Mind's Eye 

Shkken Sdim 

of an "Oxford resident" (Marillier 62), was in a position to choose 
from two paths, both of which held interesting possibilities. She could 
become the wife of a man who received £900 a year (a substantial 
sum in the mid 19th century) and lived comfortably and who loved 
her dearly, or she could be the mistress of a charismatic but erratic 
artist. If Rossetti's conduct toward Lizzie Siddal, his muse and long- 
suffering fiancee during the first part of his career, was any indication, 
there was no guarantee that he would be steadfast toward Jane. She 
chose the respectable and sensible route and married Morris, but she 
later found it to be hell and realized she would have been happier 
choosing Rossetti. In Rossetti's La Pia de' Tolomei, "La Pia sits on the 
ramparts of the fortress framed against ivy, representative of 'clinging 
memory,' toying with her wedding ring, once a jny and now a mock- 
ery" (Rogers 98). 

Guenevere describes "A great God's angel standing, with such 
dyes,/Not known on earth" (28-29). A great part of her allegory, and 
the notice she takes of the angel himself, revolves around color. Both 
Rossetti and William Morris surrounded themselves with color, and it 
was an integral component of both their lives and their professions. 
Morris was starting Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co., which would 
come to be famous for its textiles and patterns. Rossetti considered 
color to be the most important, part of a painting, He wrote in May 
1854: "I believe colour today to be a quite indispensable quality in the 
highest art, . . . Colour is the physiognomy of a picture, and like the 
shape of the human forehead, it cannot be perfectly beautiful, with- 
out proving goodness and greatness. Other qualities are its life exer- 
cised, but this is the body of its life, by which we know and love it at 
first sight" (Henderson .10). Color had meaning lor both men that went 
deeper than simple aesthetics. 

Blue has traditionally been considered a calm and comforting color 
in modem times. The Romantics, and Morris in particular, associated 
it with pleasure and desire. Within Christianity, it has been attributed 
along with white to the Virgin Mary, protectress of women and moth- 
erhood and dispenser of mercy. The blue cloth that the angel holds 
out is "Wavy and long" (J5), bringing to mind an image uf flowing 
water — possibly continuing the metaphor of water for spirit and lite. 
The length of the cloth also suggests longevity. The other cloth is "cut 
short and red" (35). Red is also a passionate color, but this type of 
passion has a connotation of sinfulness or moral looseness. Its short- 
ness suggests that choosing this cloth would lead Guenevere down a 
destructive path to a premature or "cut" end. So after long delibera- 
tion (of something that seems to be a simple choice if only it hadn't 
been imbued with divine import), she chooses the blue, but immedi- 

rhe Mind's Eye 1 

Shirleen Selim 

ately finds out it is actually hell. She thought marriage and the re- 
spectable route would give her safety and security and all that one 
hears about the pleasures ot marriage. 

In Rosselti's Girlhood of Mary Virgin, Mary embroider; a red cloth 
with lilies, which is then shown finished in its sequel Ecce Ancilla Do- 
mini! In the first, there is also a red cloak representing the Trinity draped 
over the balcony wall. The color red symbolizes Christ's passion. Mow 
Sir Galahad, Sir Bon and Sir Perciva! Were Fed with the Sane Grael: but Sir 
Percival's Sister Died by the Way. The Attainment of the Sane Grael has an- 
gels with red hair and red wings. If Morris' use of the color symbolizes 
the same thing, then Guenevere's realization that the red cloth is ac- 
tually heaven would be in keeping with it. Christ's passion and the 
color red (in clerical robes) play a much more prominent role in Ca- 
tholicism than in Protestantism, so perhaps the poem, on a subtextual 
level, is advocating Catholicism? Or perhaps red in "Defence" stands 
for Rossetti, who surrounded himself with the trappings of Catholi- 
cism. If the poem is speaking from Jane's point of view, this means 
that Jane is equating heaven and passion with Rossetti. 

Blue also signified "fidelity in love" to the Romantics (Whitaker 
267). Perhaps Gttenevere thought or hoped that she could be faithful 
to Arthur at the time she was presented with the choice, but found 
she was wrong. It could also signify that Jane chose the man (Morris) 
of whose fidelity she was almost guaranteed, while Rossetli's wasn't. 
It is too late, though, the choice has been made, and all she can do is 
"roll upon [her] bed,/And cry to all good men that loved [her] well,/ 
'Ah Christ! if only I had known, known, known'" (39-41). Guenevere 
is still speaking to her audience, hence still appealing to their human 
sympathy. Her choice was born out of ignorance, a mistake anyone 
might have made, and many would have been sure to. The reader is 
still not told what she has been accused of, so the figure of a lone 
woman in tears standing against unknown assailants elicits sympathy 
in her favor as well, especially in light of Morris' (and the Pre-Raphaelite 
Brotherhood's) chivalric beliefs. 

Morris dedicated his book "The Defence of Guenevere" and Other Po- 
ems to his "friend" Dante Gabriel Rossetti. It was published in 1858, 
and Morris would be marrying Jane in April 1859. Whether Jane's 
thoughts and activities already shadowed Guenevere's at this lime or 
whether the similarities developed later in an eerie coincidence is not 
stated in any of the books consulted. But regardless of time lines, the 
relationships of Morris, Jane and Rossetti and of Arthur, Guenevere 
and Lancelot did parallel one another. Morris himself seems to have 
been greatly conflicted in his feelings toward the affair. He loved Jane 
but realized he couldn't make her happy. Rossetti was one of his closest 

S The Mind's Eye 

Shirleen Selim 

friends and a figure for hero worship, just as Lancelot was Arthur's 
best knight in friendship and battle. Rossetti was the one responsible 
for introducing Jane to Morris. Lancelot was sent to fetch and escort 
Guenevere on Arthur's behalf to Camelot before her wedding. 

Guenevere is also the only one speaking in the poem, and it is 
only her side of the story that the reader hears: "Nevertheless you, O 
Sir Gauwaine, lie./Whatever may have happened through these years,/ 
God knows 1 speak truth, saying that yuu lie" (46-48). Guenevere is 
still (or was and is now not) worried about the choice she has made, 
for she implies that she has not been bound to her chosen path exclu- 
sive of any other: "Launcelot went away, then I could tell,/Like wisest 
man how all things would be . . ./And yet fear much to die for what 
was sown" (42-45). At the time the choice of the cloths was put 
before her, she was not completely innocent of the meaning of what 
each entailed, contrary to her explicit claim. She has made a slight slip 
in her plea (or perhaps it's an implied admission) of her complete in- 
nocence. She holds her head high in defense of her conduct, yet 
fears what punishment may await her in the afterlife because of "what 
was sown." 

One of Gucnevere's accusers is finally named — Gauwaine — a 
knight who has a checkered reputation within the Arthurian cycle. 
Depending upon the text and author portraying him, he can be read 
to tiave either a virtuous and trusted character or one that is corrupt 
and disreputable. The accusation he brings (and he is shown to be the 
leader of the group, since Guenevere faces him specifically and ad- 
dresses him separately from the others) may or may not be just. But 
he is also Arthur's favorite nephew, which may strengthen his suit. 
Arthur would then have to choose either believing his queen or be- 
lieving his nephew (and possible successor), both of whom have claims 
on his heart and may call on the rights of blood, status and kinship. 
Gauwaine and Lancelot are also close friends, so to expose Guenevere 
would also be to expose the man who once saved Gauwaine's life. "By 
the time we reach Tennyson, Gauwaine's courtesy had degenerated 
into smooth talk and his chivalry into casual love affairs. William Morris 
turned him from one of Guenevere's most ardent defenders into one 
of her chief accusers" (Karr 187-188). 

Nevertheless, guilty nr not, Guenevere is a "[brave], glorious lady 
fair" (56). Adultery does not degrade her and she is still worthy of the 
highest admiration and praise. Lancelot's merit in being a faithful lover 
also contrasts with Gauwaine's numerous trysts. Guenevere had "or- 
dained that Gauwaine should 'for ever while he lived ... be with all 
ladies, and . . . fights for their quarrels'" (Karr 185) as a curse for 
killing a lady while on the quest for a while hart during Arthur and 

The Mind 's Eye 9 

Shirken Stltm 

Guencvere's wedding feast. The reader who is familiar with the histo- 
ries of Camelot's cast of characters may be meant to suspect some 
jealousy and anger on Gauwaine's part, for it is Guencvere's fault that 
he cannot have a lasting relationship with anyone. 

Guenevere then tells of the time Lancelot came to Arthur's court 
during Christmas. The spring of their love signals and parallels the fall 
of Camelot. "Christmas and whitened winter passed away,/And over 
me the April sunshine came,/Made very awful with black hail-clouds" 
(67-69). As they celebrate Christmas, Guenevere's joy is so great that 
it is as if the April sunshine is already shining on her. Vet there are 
already black clouds in the sky that foreshadow the storm to come. 
When it is summer in the real world, the warmth she felt at first has 
already started to pass away, just as a flame burns hottest when at its 
peak. The summit has been reached and by autumn guilt over her 
infidelity has established itself — "Autumn, and the sick/Sure knowl- 
edge things would never be the same" (71-72). Even at the happiest 
moments, her guilt shades her thoughts like a frost — "However often 
Spring might be most thick/Of blossoms and buds . . ./Seemed cold 
and shallow without any cloud" (73-79). It is at this point that she is 
presented with the two cloths. 

Interestingly, she was already having the affair before she had to 
choose, another inconsistency in her defense in which she indirectly 
admits to Gauwaine's charge. In the beginning, the implication was 
thai it didn't start until the visitation by the angel; now she says that 
when the angel came she was in the conflicted and guilty mood she 
has just described — "Behold my judges, then the cloths were brought:/ 
While I was dizzied thus, old thoughts would crowd" (80-81 ). 

She reflects on the time when she first had to choose between 
Arthur and Lancelot. Guenevere says that she "was bought/By Arthur's 
great name and his little love" (82-83), another instance in which she 
has described her marriage as more of a financial transaction than a 
joining based on love. Earlier she spoke of it in terms of land; it could 
be a description of Arthur himself as well. His love is too little, just as 
the river flowing through the land was only a "narrow streak" ( 1 9). It 
implies a lack of something in Arthur, and if the water is again taken 
to represent love or spirit, she feefs he doesn't love her enough. By all 
accounts, William Morris loved his wife a great deal, to the point where 
he gave Jane permission to see Rosseui if she so wished, but loving 
someone doesn't necessarily mean that the beloved feels it to be true. 
In Guenevere's argument, her union with Arthur is a greater sin than 
her love for Lancelot, because it was undertaken for selfish reasons. 
She also fell in love with Lancelot before she joined with Arthur — 
"old thoughts would crowd./Belonging to the time ere I was bought" 

10 The Mind's Eye 

Shirleen Selim 

(81-82). She gave her heart to Lancelot first, so she argues that her 
marriage to Arthur is the more sinful union of the two relationships. 

The Pre-Raphaelites believed that a person's intent was just as or 
more important than his or her actions, Even if one did something 
one should not, if the thought behind it was good and genuine, the 
immorality or negativity of the act was mitigated. The same idea would 
hold true for a situation in reverse. A good action was not as generous 
or selfless if the thought that propelled it was self-serving or mali- 
cious. Guenevere gave her heart purely to Lancelot because there was 
nothing to gain, and she did it freely- Her vows to Arthur are the greater 
sin because the "little word" she uttered was "[sjcarce ever meant at 
all" (86-87). 

Guenevere asks whether God "will[s]" (89) that people spend their 
lives in happiness and goodness. She also says that because of iter 
affair, she has learned to "love God now a little" (90) and if she is 
separated from Lancelot, she will lose what little faith she has gained, 
ft is her illicit relationship that has taught her to love God, so it can't 
be all that bad. The "path [is] worn smooth and even" (94) by many 
others who have gone down it before her and her sin is not a singular 
crime. These unnamed and unnumbered others keep her company 
and comfort ber— "some small leaven/Of stretched hands catching 
small stones by the way" (96-97). 

At the end of the path, once she has renounced the path with 
Arthur, Guenevere lays her head in the cool water of the sea. hearken- 
ing back to her wet hair at the very beginning. The reader is brought 
lull circle to the present in the time line of the poem. So it seems 
Guenevere has been caught fresh from a meeting with Lancelot. But 
whereas there was only a narrow river before, she now has a whole 
sea lull of water to soothe her "worn" (99) head. Her sin is ironically 
likened to a baptism or cleansing. Perhaps in unintentional irony, the 
water is salty; it will never really quench her thirst and she shouldn't 
drink it. Her sweat is made of similar stuff and. tl will dry her lips even 
more. Her refuge is "o'ercasl" (102) with her guilt. 

The sun was shining and the garden was in bloom the day 
Guenevere gave in to temptation. It was the day and her resulting 
mood that caused her guard to slip and enter the wailed garden. Many 
medieval stories have the motif of the walled garden with a maiden 
somehow enclosed inside. The garden represents the female, often 
virginal, and her sexuality, spiritual self or physical body. The wall can 
be read either as protection or as imprisonment of some sort. Rossetti 
drew many pictures of imprisoned women, such as Proserpine and La 
Pia de' Tolomei, both of whom were young brides kept constrained 
against their will by their husbands, and Rossetti imagined a similar 

The Mind's Eye 11 

Shtrken Selim 

situation for Jane Morris. This was another "unguarded" moment, for 
she was "half triad, with beauty" (109) and "went without (her] ladies 
all alone" (110). She was "shouting" and her hair was "loosed out" 
(128). Lancelot found her at a vulnerable time, and as the poem started, 
so now again has she been found out. Tfie story has tome full circle 
from the beginning of the affair to the present moment. 

Guenevere's defense of Gauwaine's accusation is based on the fact 
that she is a lady. She is a lady because she can cry for what she has 
done, and her tears are evidence of a conscience: "Being such a lady 
could I weep these tears/If this were true? A great queen such as 1/ 
Having sinn'd this way, straight her conscience sears" (145-147). She 
does not deny that she sinned, only that what he says is a lie. The reader 
is still not told what the actual words of the accusation are. "Whatever 
happened on through all those years./God knows I speak truth, saying 
that you lie" (143-144). 

What she denies is not the fact that she did, indeed, cheat on Arthur; 
it. seems to be her feelings regarding it. She brings the matter home to 
her accuser, pointing out to him that he himself is not untouched by 
such a sin. Gauwaine's brother Agravaine killed their own mother for 
having an affair with Lamorak. Gucnevere implores Gauwaine not to 
let the same fate befall her, not to let her be buried in some unknown 
grave that will not let her spirit rest. She will haunt him, she says, and 
she draws on the guilt he still has about his mother's death and his fear 
of the injustice that has been done to her. However, Guenevere's appeal 
to his human feeling does not work, and she proceeds to discount all 
the proofs of her guilt he has brought against her. A queen is above 
such accusations and should not have to explain her actions. 

Guenevere then implies that the blood Mellyagraunce found on 
her bed was from a suicide attempt — '"I blush indeed, (air lord, only to 
rend/My sleeve up to my shoulder, where there lay/A knife-point last 
night'" (179-181). Mellyagraunce is actually not wrong in his assump- 
tion, for the bloodstain was made by Lancelot, who " | hurt] his hand in 
getting through her window." She emphasises her position as a "Lady" 
(182| again and that it is beneath her to have to defend her own honor. 
The knights have again intruded upon a private moment, lor she has 
had to disclose to them a moment of weakness. The men and knights 
who should be defending her honor as their queen are instead insulting 
it by questioning her. They are not doing their duty by her — "This very 
day, and you were judges here/Instead of God" (184-185). And how 
could they believe Mellyagraunce, that coward? Who was he to judge 
her, that '"slayer of unarm'd men'" (189), '"Setter of traps'" (190) and 
"'Stripper of ladies'" (192)? In contrast, Lancelot did for her what they 
did not— she keeps calling him "my" knight (199, 204, 211). 

12 The Mind's Eye 

Shir ken Selim 

Guenevere claims God to be on her and Lancelot's side — "Yet 
Mellyagraunce was shepUFor Mellyagraunce had fought against the 
Lord; /There tore, my lords, take heed lest you be blent/With all this 
wickedness" (220-22 3). Mellyagratmce was a deceiver and to believe 
him is to side against God. 

Guenevere's beauty also excuses whatever she may have done. 
She draws attention to her various attributes and argues that some- 
one so beautiful can't possibly be "vile" (238); the Romantics and Pre- 
Raphaelites had a certain preoccupation with the paradoxes inherent 
in the definitions of beauty and ugliness and their respective classical 
associations with good and evil. The descriptions Guenevere gives of 
her features are also said in such a way as to emphasize her stature 
and position. Her breast is "Like waves of purple sea" (227) and her 
hands are like "marvelously coiour'd gold" (233). Purple is tradition- 
ally associated with royalty, and she reminds them she is a queen at 
heart. Her hands are the color of nobility, and earlier Gauwaine pointed 
to her unblemished "white" (177) hands as proof that she wasn't the 
one who had bled, in a way, the very thing that Gauwaine said proved 
his claim is the thing that Guenevere uses to defend herself. Her beauty 
sets her above and apart from other women and because of that, she 
shouldn't be held to the same standards as they. In this, Morris' argu- 
ment matches Rossetti's, because he, too, thought beauty set some 
women apart from others, and what applied to the female population 
as a whole didn't apply to them. Their dignity and beauty made them 
great and put them above ordinary morality, just as certain behavior 
condemned on the whole when committed by common people is ex- 
cused when committed by a celebrity or someone in a position of power. 

!n answer to the fact that Lancelot was found in Guenevere's cham- 
ber, she tells them that she merely enjoyed the company of one who 
was a true knight, not a failure as her accusers are. It was she who 
called him to her, and one doesn't refuse the summons of the queen. 
She wished to talk with Lancelot of the old days when they were young. 
Guenevere liked to '"hear/ [His] wonderful words, that all mean ver- 
ily/'The thing they seem to mean'" (248-250). That must mean his 
honesty with her is something she's not used to getting from other 
people, maybe not even from Arthur himself. As in Rossetti's drawing 
Lancelot in the Queen's Chamber, Guenevere can hang up her crown in 
his presence and let go of her role and duty for a little while. She 
doesn't have to be the queen with him, because he has known her 
from a time when they were both just starting on their paths. "T fear 
this time I might/Get thinking over much of times gone by,/When I 
was young, and green hope was in sight;/'For no man cares now to 
know why I sigh;/And no man comes to sing me pleasant songs,/Nor 

The Mind's Eye 13 

Skirlee-n Selim 

any brings me the sweet flowers that lie/'So thick in the gardens'" 
(25 3-259). He pays attention to her and listens to her, something her 
husband should be doing. This is another instance where it is implied 
that Arthur is an inattentive or absent husband. Lancelot is the one 
who bothers to know her as a person. Guenevere wishes to be -free 
from all wrongs'" (261), implying that her (and Lancelot's) present 
life is full of wrongs. It is the life she is leading that is the mistake, or 
the sin, for it is a lie. Jane chose marriage to Morris for selfish reasons. 

Guenevere finally comes to the moment when she and Lancelot 
were caught by the other knights. "[A]nd we were gay;/Till sudden I 
rose up, weak, pale, and sick,/Because a bawling broke our dream up" 
(265-267). Their dream was broken when all of a sudden they heard 
the shouting uf Gauwainc and his men outside the door. Both she and 
Lancelot are frozen lor a moment, because they don't know what to 
do. The full force of Guenevere's crime comes over her and she "tried 
to shriek,/And could not, but fell down" (270-271) and comes into 
contact with tiles. One of the things Morris' company was noted for 
was its production of original tiles and tile designs, and this could be a 
reminder to Jane of her husband's presence, "The stones they threw 
up rattled o'er my head,/And made me dizzier" {272— 273) could be an 
illusion to the story in the Bible of the woman who was accused of 
adultery. When her accusers threw stones at the woman, Jesus inter- 
vened and reminded them that none of them was free from sin. 

Guenevere uses the same argument earlier in her defense, and 
she reminds the leader of her accusers, Gauwaine, that he in particu- 
lar shouldn't point fingers. Perhaps Jane's accuser was Morris himself, 
or possibly people associated with the company, such as the artists in 
their circle of friends. Hence, the tiles themselves could be the ones 
throwing stones, and not the people outside the door. "Launcelot still d" 
the "bawling" (280) of the accusers and it was he Guenevere turned 
to after they were found out— "till within a while/. . . my head/On 
Launcelot's breast was being soothed away/From its white chattering" 
(273-276), Her teeth were chattering from the colorless cold and fear, 
and once again Lancelot offered her warmth. He saved her from sink- 
ing into dreary hopelessness, he saved her from Mellyagraunce and 
from the accusers when they were found out, He saves her again at 
the end of the poem when she has no more words to say in her 

14 The Mind's Bye 

Shirteen Selim 

Works Cited 

Henderson, Marina. D. G. Rossetti. New York: St. Martin's, 1973. 

Kan-, Phyllis Ann. The Arthurian Companion: "The Legendary World of 
Camelot and the Round Table." Canada: Pendragon, 1997. 

Marillier, H. C. Dante Gabriel Rossetti: "An Illustrated Memorial ol His 
Art and Life," London: Bell, 1904. 

Morris, William. "The Defence of Guenevere." Modern Arthurian Lit- 
erature: "An Anthology of English and American Arthuriana 
irom the Renaissance to the Present." Ed. Alan Lupack. New 
York: Garland, 1992, 

Rogers, David. Rossetti. London: Phaidon, 1996. 

Whitaker, Muriel. Rossetti: His Life and Works. London: Duckworth, 1975. 

Tin' Mind's Eye 15 

Bringing the Sacred 
Sheep Home 


They came in ships from the Old World. Not the fine-fleeced Span- 
ish Merinos, later brought to America, but the scruffy Churras, 
a double-coated utility sheep sent to feed and clothe the sol- 
diers, missionaries and settlers in New Spain. 

From Mexico City they were driven north, first in 1540 with the 
adventurer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who sought the Seven 
Cities ot Cibola; then in 1 598 with (he colonist Juan de Onate and 400 
settlers, who brought 3000 sheep, along with horses and cattle, to 
New Mexico. 

A small, hardy breed, long legged and fine boned, the Churras 
adapted well to the interior desert. Their biological efficiency enabled 
them to survive on marginal forage and little water. Agile— newborns 
could be on their Feel and moving within minutes — they fared well 
against coyotes. The rams grew thick, curled horns; some had four. A 
few of the ewes also had horns. The sheep were clean of face and legs 
and had long, thin tails. 

The Churras' luminous outer coat, 8 to 14 inches long, reflected 
sunlight and protected them from heat and rain. Their dense inner 
fleece insulated them against subzero temperatures and kept out blow- 
ing dust. 

16 The Mind's Eye 

Ben Jacques 

Canada High School students Freanda Cheer, Franeessca Willard and Daphne 
Williams display their Churro wool and ribbons won in the wool competition. 

Multicolored, they came in shades of creamy white, apricot, brown, 
gray and black. Sometimes the black ones faded toward blue, Some 
sheep were spotted, or badger faced, Prolific, they could breed 
aseasorially, often lambing twice a year, and they could produce mature 
fleeces as often. Twins and triplets were not uncommon. The Spanish 
colonists used their wool to make blankets, scrapes and other cloth- 
ing, as well as saddle pads and cinches for their horses. They ate mut- 
ton and cheese made Irom the sheep's milk. As their flocks expanded, 
ranchers drove large flocks south to the markets of Mexico City. Dur- 
ing the gold rush, they supplied markets in California. 

For the Indians of the American Southwest, the sheep were a god- 
send. For no one was this truer than the Navajos, an Athabascan people 
that had settled on the Colorado Plateau as early as the 12th century. 
The bond they would form with these sheep would mark them indel- 
ibly, spiritually and materially. Before the Spaniards arrived, the 

The Mind's Eye 17 

Ben Jacques 

Navajos had prepared for sheep. Roy Kady, a master weaver from Teec 
Nos Pos, says his ancestors collected tufts left on the bushes and rocks 
by mountain sheep. Because the wild animals could not be domesti- 
cated, however, they asked the Holy People, their deities, for sheep 
that would live with them and sustain them. 

So when the Spaniards brought their flocks north, the Navajos 
assumed they were the beneficiaries. Indeed, the characteristics of the 
Churras matched the symmetries of Navajo mythology, The four basic 
fleece colors aligned with the colors of the four sacred mountains 
marking the Navajo homeland. And the four-horned rams? Were they 
not a special gift of the Creator? The Navajos also prized the white 
patch appearing on the crowns of certain lambs. They called it the 
Hand of God. It would bring good fortune. 

Raiding and trading, it didn't take the Navajos long to incorporate 
the Churras, later to be called Churros, into their culture. From the 
colonists they also obtained horses, cattle and goats, borrowed weav- 
ing techniques and clothing styles and learned silversmithing. Whereas 
the horses gave them mobility, especially useful to Navajo warriors 
and raiders, the sheep gave them stability. The Churros' lean meat 
supplemented the sacred corn as a food staple. And families patterned 
their movements alter the grazing needs of their flocks, herding them 
to mountain pastures in summer and lowlands in winter. Family roles 
and tribal customs formed around herding, lambing, dipping, shear- 
ing, spinning, dyeing and weaving. Concepts of sheep and mother- 
hood blended, strengthening matriarchal roles in Navajo culture. 

The Navajos — who call themselves Dine, the People — found the 
coarse, lustrous wool of the Churros perfect for their purposes. The 
long, durable fibers held little lanolin, unlike the wool of other breeds. 
This meant the wool could be cleaned with little or no water. It also 
made it well suited for hand carding and spinning. And the nongreasy 
fibers quickly absorbed the natural dyes the Navajos made trom plants 
and insects. 

Historians say the Dine were taught 10 weave by the Pueblo Indi- 
ans, who had cultivated cotton for centuries. After their revolt against 
Spanish rule in 1680, many Pueblos had found refuge among their 
traditional enemies, the Dine. Navajo weavers, however, recall the 
old stories that credit their deities — Spider Man, for teaching them 
how to construct a loom; and Spider Woman, for teaching them how 
to weave. These narratives imbue their processes with cosmic signifi- 
cance and link their looms and tools to their sacred past. 

By the ISth century, the Dine had become known throughout the 
Southwest for their weaving. In 1795, the Spanish governor of New 
Mexico wrote that the Navajos "work their wool with more delicacy 

18 The Mind's Eye 

Ben Jacques 

and taste than the Spaniards." In the next century, an American visi- 
tor to Fort Defiance wrote that "their blankets are the wonder of all 
who see them." 

Warm and durable— it would last a lifetime— a Navajo blanket was 
as valuable as a horse. The blankets were admired by Plains Indians, as 
well as Spanish and American settlers, who traveled to Dine Bikeyah, 
the Navajo homeland, to purchase them. There is a story of a settler's 
pouring a bucket, of water onto a Navajo blanket, its Churn) weave so 
tight no water dripped through. 

In the two and a half centuries after the coming of the Europeans, 
Navajo flocks increased, numbering in the tens of thousands. But for 
the People, life was rarely peaceful, as they raided, fought and de- 
fended themselves, their livestock and their territory against the Span- 
iards, Mexicans and competing Indian tribes. 

In the 18th century, many clans migrated west, building then 
hogans in and around Canyon de Chelly, the ancient home of the 
Anazasi, The Y-shaped canyon, with its towering walls, became a place 
Of refuge. Beside the streams they planted peach trees, corn, pump- 
kins, squash and beans. There, too, they found shelter for their sheep. 
But in the coming years, the Churros and the people who had wel- 
comed them as a gift of the Holy People would find no less than their 
survival at stake. 


For Navajo storyteller Annie Kahn, the baaing of her sheep is music. 
And in the tap-tap of her comb on the weft ol the loom, she hears her 
people's drums, calling rain. 

Mrs. Kahn is recalling a life spent among sheep before a gathering 
of shepherds, weavers, artists, wool producers and facilitators from 
the vast Navajo Nation and beyond. 

It is the seventh annual Sheep Is Life conference organized by 
Dine be' iina (DBI), or Navajo Lifeway, to strengthen the traditional 
role of sheep in Navajo culture and art. The conference is held at Dine 
College in Tsaile on the sagebrush-and-juniper steppe just north of 
Canyon de Chelly. 

After a traditional dinner of mutton, blue-cornmeal mush, mel- 
ons and fry bread, the Navajo grandmother retells the origin of what 
the Dine call the Real Sheep, the Old Ones, the Churros. "We cel- 
ebrate the Creator who gave us sheep," she says, "especially Churro 
sheep. They are sacred animals." 

Most revered, are the four-horned Churros, whuse four horns rep- 
resent the four sacred mountains marking Dine Bikeyah. 

"Four is a sacred number," Mrs. Kahn says. "This was always very 

The Mind's Eye 19 

Ben Jacques 

important to me." Four colors, four horns, four mountains, four riv- 
ers, four gods who encountered the wandering Air Spirit people in the 
Fourth World and created First Man and First Woman. 

Recognized variously in creation stories as the gift of Sun Bearer 
and Changing Woman, the Old Sheep became the foundation of Na- 
vajo life. For the Dine, however, encounters with the Spaniards who 
had delivered this gift had tragic consequences. During the centuries 
of incursion and colonization, both sides stole livestock from each other 
and took captives. As historian Peter Iverson succinctly puts it in Dine: 
a History of the Navajos, "Theft led to fighting, and fighting led to war." 
To better understand the conflict with the Europeans, however, it must 
also be stated that the Navajos were the principal victims of enslave- 
ment, Iverson writes, "Although they certainly raided Spanish com- 
munities from time to time for livestock and other material items, 
Navajo raids often were sparked by the capture of Dine individuals for 
the Spanish slave trade." 

Slave trafficking continued under the Mexicans. Jules Loh iaLords 
of the Earth notes that in the 1840s, Navajo children, taken by vigilan- 
tes in New Mexico, were being sold for $200 a head. A resident of 
New Mexico Territory at the time, Dr. Louis Kennon, estimated the 
number of Navajos in slavery at between 5000 and 6000. 

Over time the Dine survived repealed military attacks by the 
Spaniards, including the 1805 massacre of old men, women and chil- 
dren hiding in a cave in Canyon del Muerto, a branch of Canyon de 
Chelly. But the Dine fared no better under the Mexicans or the Ameri- 
cans, who sought control of the Southwest during and after the 
Mexican War. 

The new regional authority, the Americans promised to protect 
Mexican ranchers and put an end to Indian raiding. But there were 
other considerations. Gold had been rumored in Navajo territory. And 
ranchers needed more land for their cattle. Then, as Americans en- 
gaged in their own Civil War, there was increasing fear and need for 
control. A factor less tangible, but more deadly, was the attitude among 
many Americans that the Indians simply had to get, or be put, out of 
the way. 

In 1S64, General Kit Carson, ordered to subjugate and relocate 
the Navajos, led his soldiers deep into Canyon de Chelly, set fire to 
their hogans, orchards and corn and slaughtered their sheep. Resisters 
and some bystanders were killed. Although a number of Navajos es- 
caped, using hidden routes to the canyon rim, those remaining were 
starved into submission. Soon Navajos began reporting to Fort Defi- 
ance for deportation. It was to be known as the Long Walk, a 350-mile 
trek to Bosque Redondo, inhospitable flatlands on the Pecos River east 

20 The Mind s Eye 

Ben Jacques 

of Albuquerque. Along the way, those too weak to walk were shot. At 
Bosque Redondo, they would pass lour winters ol bitter prison en- 
campment. Ft is a story every Navajo knows. 

"They wiped out everything," Mrs. Kahn says. "No food, no sheep, 
no fresh milk. Our thinking failed. But the Navajos are strong people. 
We believe poverty fell off us. Insecurity fell off us." 


It is six a.m., but the June sun, rising behind theChttska mountain 
range, has yet to find the dozen Navajos and a handful of Anglos sip- 
ping coffee in the cold wind beside a pickup truck. They have gath- 
ered for sunrise prayers to open the Sheep Is Life celebration on the 
high heartland of the Navajo Nation. 

After small talk, they step under the brush arbor and form a 
circle opening to the east. At first there is silence, marked only by 
the rustling of oak leaves, the stray notes of a desert bluebird and a 
ewe bleating in the sheep pen. Then Jack Harvey, 28, begins to pray. 
The cadences of Navajo rise and fall in the wind. 

The director of the Upward Bound program, running concur- 
rently on campus, Mr. Harvey was raised by his grandmother, who 
taught him to respect his culture. As a U.S. Marine in Asia, he visited 
Buddhist temples where priests created sand paintings. He felt an 
affinity with them, and told them how his people use sand paintings 
in curative ceremonies. Now he is learning the sacred songs that re- 
store harmony and beauty, the spiritual balance that is the founda- 
tion for physical and mental health. 

Afterpraying in Navajo, Harvey switches to English. He gives thanks 
lor the new day and asks a blessing on the celebrations, on the sheep 
and on all those who have come. He prays for peace and harmony. 

As he finishes, the sun pours down over the ponderosa pines on 
the mountain. 


In 1868, when their "resettlement" at Bosque Redondo had be- 
come an obvious and expensive failure. General William Tecumseh 
Sherman negotiated a landmark treaty with tribal elders. Instead of 
sending the Dine farther east into exile, as some officials urged, he 
allowed them to return to a portion of their land between the four 
mountains. He promised ihem additional livestock, farming implements 
and schools. For their part, the Navajos pledged never to make war on 
the Americans, Mexicans or other tribes. 

On June 18, as recorded by a government clerk, 7111 Navajos, 
including 2693 women and 2 1 57 children, began the long walk home. 

The Mind's Eye 21 

Ben Jacques 

The procession stretched for ten miles. When they came in sight of 
Mount. Taylor, the sacred mountain of the south, which the Dine call 
Tsoodzil, the old people sal down and wept. 

Finding remnants of their old sheep, and with additional livestock 
supplied by the government, the Navajo people now solidified as an 
agropastoralist culture, depending entirely on their land and animals. 
Once again they and their sheep began to thrive, and their brilliant 
textiles found markets across the country and beyond. 

In the 20th century, the federal government began introducing 
larger, fine-wool breeds onto the reservation: Merinos, Rambouillets 
and others. Although these sheep produced wool favored by commer- 
cial processors, it was ill suited for the needs of Navajo artists. The 
wool was difficult to wash, card and spin. And these sheep required 
more grazing land and water. Interbreeding led to dissipation of the 
Churro breed and traditional processing and weaving practices. Some 
weavers began using commercial yarn purchased at the trading posts. 
The change also affected the Navajos' diet, Roy Kady says, as the lean 
Churro meat was replaced by mutton with higher fal content. 

Still, Navajo sheep herds continued to expand, until by 1931, ac- 
cording to the late Councilman Ned Hatathli, the Dine owned two 
million sheep. In the years to come, however, their sheep stocks would 
be forcibly reduced by more than two thirds, and income from live- 
stock would plummet. 

For a people that had survived the Long Walk, it was a second 
great trauma. In the drought years of the 1930s, concerned that graz- 
ing lands were being depleted, the federal government imposed man- 
datory reductions on livestock. At first Navajos were forced to sell many 
of their sheep, horses and goats. Later, agents arrived on Navajo land 
and shot the animals, leaving them to rot. Because the Churros were 
considered of less value than other breeds, they were often the first to 
be destroyed. 

Livestock reduction brought restrictions not only in numbers but in 
traditional movement and grazing rights. And for the Churros, ironically 
the most efficient sheep in the Southwest, it meant near extinction. 

By the 1970s, when University of Utah sheep-science professor 
Lyle McNeal became interested in the Churros, only a few hundred 
remained, tucked away in remote regions of the reservation. 

A Scottish American veterinarian aware of his own family's roots 
in sheep and textiles, Dr, McNeal recognized the unique genetic re- 
sources of the old breed. Through his friendships with the Dine he 
also came to understand the Churros' deep cultural significance. In 
1977, with six ewes and two rams, the professor and his wife started 
the Navajo Sheep Project. He was aided by the American Livestock 

22 The Mind's Eye 

Ben Jacques 

Breeds Conservancy (ALBC), which recognized rhe Navajo-Churro as 
a distinct breed and placed it on the endangered list. 

Scouring the mesas and canyons of the 25,000-square-mile reser- 
vation — extending into three states — McNeai gathered a remnant of 
Churros for a breeding herd that would later be used to resupply them 
to Navajo, Hispanic and Anglo farmers in the Southwest. 
Once he had established a healthy seed stock, McNeai began return- 
ing Churros to the Dine, bringing back more than 2000 of the old 
breed, In October 2002, the Navajo Sheep Project celebrated its 25th 
anniversary by distributing 300 rams, ewes and lambs. Several dozen 
more came the following winter and spring. Each year recipients pass 
on offspring to others. 

Throughout his efforts, Dr. McNeai was assisted by Navajos who 
remembered the Old Ones. One of them was Gold Tooth Begay from 
Jeddito, Arizona, who with his daughters, Alta and Sharon Begay, led 
in restoration efforts. Mr. Begay, who had seen the Churros slaugh- 
tered by federal agents, devoted his last two decades to bringing Churros 
home. He died in 2002 at the age of 105. 

Today there are several thousand Navajo-Churro sheep in the 
United States. There are also Churros in Mexico and Canada. Their 
rapid comeback so far has led the ALBC to move them up one step on 
its watch list, from critical to rare. 

Connie Taylor, a sheep rancher and wool broker in New Mexico, 
is the registrar for the Navajo-Churro Sheep Association. She and her 
husband supply Churro wool and yarn to Navajo and Hispanic com- 
munities throughout the Southwest. So far she has registered about 
3700 Churros. "I'm seeing really good stock among both Navajo and 
non-Navajo sheep farmers," she says. "More Navajo-Churros are in 
the hands of more peopfe. This is good, because it leads to more ge- 
netic diversity." 

Evident throughout the Sheep Is Life conference is the valuable 
niche that Churro wool has found in fiber-arts markets. "Churro wool 
has added value at every phase," says Mr. Kady. 

Mark Peterson, current president of the Navajo Sheep Project, 
agrees. "Clipped Churro wool can sell for $1.65 a pound. Commercial 
grades are one-tenth of that." In some markets, raw Churro wool sells 
for live dollars or more a pound. 

Steve Mills, a wool producer in Magdalena, New Mexico, says he 
can sell the yarn he produces from Churro wool wholesale for $24 a 
pound. At the sheep celebration, an eight-ounce skein of Churro rug 
yarn goes for $16. 

There is also a growing market for Churro meat. In 2002, the Na- 
vajo-Churro breed was selected by Slow Food's Ark USA program. 

The Mind's Eye 23 

Ben Jacques 

Ark USA, which describes Churro Iamb as "sweet, lean and delicate," 
encourages consumption of a range of heritage-breed foods as health- 
ful alternatives to commercial products. 

Besides that, Mr. Peterson says, Churros are just fun to raise. "They 
are healthy. They don't get sick. They're easy lambers and wonderful 
mothers. They're bright, and they're interesting. Every Churro that's 
born, you never know what it will look like. They're wonderful 

For some Navajo weavers, the Churros are sheep they only heard 
about when they were children. "My morn used to talk about the 
four-horned sheep," says Ilene Long, an academic advisor at Dine 
College's Chinle branch and DBI treasurer. "As a child, I wondered 
what they were. Now she has her own Churros." 

Today the number of Navajos working with sheep and textiles is a 
small fraction of what it once was. Yet in a society that struggles against 
unemployment, poverty, alcoholism and cultural disintegration, the 
collective memory of sheep is strong. That memory is portrayed in the 
official seal of the Navajo Nation, a golden ring open to the east. Two 
stalks of com circle from the west, bearing tasseled ears. In the space 
between the four mountains — white, blue, yellow and black — sheep 
are grazing. 

"Sheep is our essence, a part of us," says Joe Shirley, president of 
the Navajo Nation. Mr. Shirley grew up among sheep. "I used to herd 
sheep. I used to love goat's milk. For families who had sheep then, 500 
was the norm. It meant independence, standing on your own feet. 
But we're losing it, along with our language. If we can save the sheep, 
we can save our language." 


Early Tuesday morning, a small herd of angora goats and sheep, 
accompanied by a sheep dog, emerges from the pinons on the north 
side of the college and moves slowly across the campus, grazing the 
sparse grass around the dormitories. An old woman follows. 

An hour or so later, a dry south wind has come up on the high 
desert. In the lee of the workhouse, Roy Kady is scraping the bark off 
the yucca roots with a stone. A well-known artist and DBI leader, he is 
teaching his students bow to wash sheep wool the Navajo way. 

Assisting him is his sister. Vera, and two women he introduces as 
his teachers: Mary, his mother; and Daisy, his great aunt, wearing bright 
scarves on their heads and traditional lull skirts and blouses accented 
by turquoise necklaces. 

Spread out on a tarp are washbasins, bags of wool recently shorn, 
a butane burner to boil water and buckets of yucca roots. 

24 The Mind's Eye 

Ben Jacques 

University of Utah sheep scientist lyk McNeal judges yearling ram Ckurros. 

The thick wool is dusty and entangled with bits of twigs. Although 
some wool can be carded and spun before washing, this batch needs 
cleaning as a first step. First the wool is skirted, the rough edges re- 
moved to he used later for horse blankets. The fleece from the sheep's 
back will be used for fine weaving. 

As the students pick up their own stones to begin debarking the 
yucca roots, Mr. Kady talks about digging for the roots. For centuries 
Navajos have used yucca roots to wash not only their wool but their 
clothes and hair. Besides its practical uses, the yucca soap is used in 
traditional cleansing rituals, including the four-day coming-of-age cer- 
emony for young women. 

The turquoise on his bracelet flashes in the sun. You must be care- 
ful not to harm the yucca plant, he says. His mother adds something 
in Navajo, and he translates: "She says, if you're harsh with it. it will 
give you a rash." He pauses, letting the old wisdom sink in. 

His sister, a UPS driver, talks ahout their childhood. "When we 
were kids, we had nu running water. We went to the goat spring. We 

The Mind's Eye 25 

Ben Jacques 

learned yucca cleaning from an early age. It was shampoo for our hair. 
We were the cleanest kids in town." 

The wool-washing process is labor-intensive. After the roots are 
debarked, you crush them, opening up their fibers. Then you stir the 
root in the cool water until it suds. Later you add hot water. Then you 
submerge the wool and clean it by lifting and lowering it in the wash, 
without stirring, which will tangle the fibers. 

The yucca sticks can be used over and over. "They just keep on 
working — like a bunny," his sister says, smiling. 

Finishing the debarking, one student moves to brush away the 
litter of bark from the roots. The teacher stops her, then shows her 
how to collect the remains in a bucket. Take this back to the yucca and 
empty it gently on the north side, he instructs. That's the way it's done. 
Nothing should be thrown away. Everything is returned to its source. 

As Mr. Kady works, he begins a soft chant. Songs for the washing, 
songs for the spinning, songs for the weaving— Navajos bring their 
songs to their tasks, he explains. 

"Navajos used to sing more." He remembers hearing a Navajo shep- 
herd on his horse a mile away, his voice carrying through the canyon. 

Sometimes the wool is washed twice. Then it is dried in the sun. 


On Thursday morning, a maroon pickup arrives beside the five- 
story, glass-paneled building at Dine College. The giant, shiny struc- 
ture is shaped, as are the library and dormitories, like a hogan. A woman 
climbs out and hauls a cooler inside the main doors. The cooler is 
packed with breakfast burritos, sandwiches and tamales, which will 
sell fast. 

Today the sheep and goats will start arriving in pickups and trail- 
ers — livestock brought in for the weekend festivities, the sheep and 
goat competitions, the workshops on shearing and wool grading. On 
Saturday, sheepherders will enter their Churro rams in a ram exchange. 
Alter they pass blood and sperm tests to ensure they are good breed- 
ers, the rams will be put into the corral and reselected by lot. A ewe, as 
a consolation prize, will be given with the last ram. With their new 
rams, families will strengthen the genetic makeup of their flocks. 

Meanwhile, on the third floor of the shiny building, in a side room 
near murals depicting Navajo creation stories, workshops continue in 
weaving — Iwu-heddle and the more complicated fuur-heddle — and 
wool dyeing. 

Dine mythology has it that after the people were instructed in the 
art of weaving. Spider Man told them to gather a spiderweb and rub it 
onto the arms and hands of each newborn girl. 

26 The Minds Eye 

Ben Jacques 

"Thus, when she grows up, she will weave, and her fingers and 
arms will not lire from the weaving." 

For centuries, Navajo mothers have taught their daughters to spin 
and weave. But girls haven't been the only ones to learn. Today, the 
artistry of male weavers is evident in the beautiful textiles created by 
Mr. Kady and others. 

"In my family, even the guys would have to learn," says Ruth 
Todccheenie, a weaver from Pifion, on the east side of Black Mesa, 
"They had to help spin, after they finished eating their mutton." 

Seated at a loom near Mrs. Todecheenie, her aunt, and Rose Lee, 
her mother — both weaving instructors — is 12-year-old Roselala Lee. 
Roselala is dressed in a blue velveteen blouse and white skirt and deer- 
skin moccasins, and her hair is pulled back and tied in white yarn. She 
wears a silver-squash-blossom necklace and earrings made of tiny tur- 
quoise beads. Later, her grandmother will weave at the loom directly 
across from her. 

When she was seven, Roselala sold a saddle bianket, her first big 
project, for $350, her mother says. She used the money to purchase 
her turquoise jewelry. 

Several of the other weavers are wearing turquoise and coral, sil- 
ver necklaces, bracelets and concha belts. It's good to wear your jew- 
elry, Valencia Bizahaloni, another instructor, explains. "We see them 
as living things. If you put them away, then they're dying. You're suf- 
focating them." 

Weaving has long been a home industry for the Navajos, a way to 
derive much-needed income in a society that offers little or no wage 
employment. In the I Sth and 1 9th centuries, using the wool of their 
Churros, they wove clothes, bed covers and wearing blankets. They 
also made saddle blankets, ropes and cinches for their horses. An early 
blanket style is called Chief Blankets, though the first blankets were 
probably not for chiefs, says master weaver TahNibaa Natani. 

What likely happened, she says, is that a chief from a Plains 
tribe asked a Navajo to weave a blanket for his daughter. Early men's 
blankets featured broad contrasting bands, while women's blan- 
kets displayed more narrow designs. Later, red yarn and geometric 
patterns — stars and diamonds — were added. 

"But when it was cold, you grabbed a blanket," Ms. Natani says, 
laughing. "It didn't matter which blanket you had. It would keep you 

Navajo blankets were highly sought-after items, not only for Indi- 
ans but for Mexican and Anglo ranchers and cowboys. 

From the late 19th century on, Navajo textiles increasingly became 
valued as art. Several things affected their development. One was the 

The Mind's Eye 27 

Ben Jmques 

Rebecca A Uen, a Tsaile High School student, displays a blanket vest she wove. 
28 The Mind's Eye 

Ben Jacques 

role of traders, such as Lorenzo Hnbbell at Ganado, who exchanged 
basic supplies for Navajo blankets and jewelry, and encouraged use of 
specific colors and designs. 

From 1890 to 1910, the Navajos went on a "color jag," buyer and 
collector Gilbert Maxwell writes in Navajo Rugs: Past, Present and Fu- 
ture, They staned buying bayeta, Saxony and Germantown cloth sold 
at the trading posts. They would unravel the red cloth and reweavc 
the bright yarn into their textiles. Later, aniline dyes and yarns be- 
came available. 

After what Maxwell terms "the Gaudy Period," natural colors and 
vegetal dyes reappeared in several regional styles. Navajo weavers had 
always relied on the varied wool colors ot the Churro. But as the 
Churros declined, replaced by commercial breeds, weavers sought more 
color for their blankets, 

At the Sheep Is Life conference, Mrs. Bizahaluni is teaching a class 
in vegetal dyes. She shows students how to use lichen, walnut shells, 
cactus fruit, juniper berries, indigo and the cochineal insects to create 
a range of colors and hues: reddish orange, yellow, gold, pastel green, 
blue and deep brown. 

While in captivity at Bosque Redondo, the Navajos had been given 
velveteen and cotton to make clothes in the styles of Mexicans and 
Americans. They were also given blankets, and after 1890 Pendleton 
blankets Hooded the reservation. For the Dine, it was cheaper to buy a 
blanket than to weave one, 

This led to another shift in Navajo textiles, and again the traders 
were instrumental. Believing there would be a growing market for 
rugs and wall hangings, they encouraged Navajo artists to employ a 
heavier type of weaving. Many designs now included borders, instead 
of stripes, and a wide array of geometric, representational patterns. 

In the early decades of the 20th century, as many as 16 regional 
styles developed. Ganado rugs, for exampfe, are still known for their 
red backgrounds with black, gray aird white central diamond patterns. 

Burntwaler designs, however, combine earth tones and pastels 
and have a distinguishing warmth that comes from the use of brown, 
sienna and mustard, accented by paie shades of rose, green, blue 
and lilac. 

Some of the finest and most expensive textiles derive from Two 
Grey Hills in New Mexico. Weavers in this style use only undyed, 
hand-spun wool, weaving rich browns, blacks, grays and whites in 
complicated patterns with a dark border. Subtle shades are created by 
carding two colors of wool together. Two Grey Hills rugs are also known 
for the dense weave of the weft, or horizontal, threads, with more 
than 100 per inch. 

The Mind's Eye 29 

Ben Jacques 

Today artists such as Mr. Kady and Ms. Natani, both trained in 
traditional styles, arc presenting new concepts, colors and designs. And 
they sometimes use new tools, such as the drum carder and drop 
spindle, though they still weave on traditional looms. 

On Saturday, Mr. Kady is showing Navajo and Anglo children how 
to dye wool with Kool-Aid. Later that day, Cheryl, the daughter of 
Ruth Todecheenie, sells a beautifully blended diamond twill weaving. 
The blue in her art comes from biueberries, the pink from Kool-Aid. 

In recent decades, encottraged by collectors and museums, some 
weavers have begun depicting religious themes. These "chant" rugs 
include Ycis, the name for the supernatural Holy People of Navajo 
origin, or Yeibichai, the ceremonial representation by humans of Yeis, 
and depictions of sand paintings used in healing ceremonies. 

Traditionally, such graphic display of deities was considered taboo. 
Today, however, many Navajos accept the creation of these rugs and 
see them as an important way to preserve religious themes and iden- 
tity. There is also a practical reason. 

"My great-aunt was a weaver," says Mrs. Bizahaloni. "She was 
one of the first to do a Yeibichai pattern in a tug. She was very reli- 
gious. She wove it and sold it, and got a pickup truck." 


In his book Living at Nature '$ Pace: Fa rming and the American Dream, 
Gene Logsdon argues that assembly-line efficiencies are destroying 
sustainable agriculture. 

"A more hopeful course," writes this fourth-generation farmer from 
Ohio, "would be to bring civilization's attention to bear on the con- 
cept of biological efficiency and find out how it might be used to pre- 
serve human culture." 

Mr. Logsdon could easily be talking about Navajo-Churro sheep. 
Adapted over centuries to the harsh terrain of the American South- 
west, these utility sheep of the Spanish colonizers have become mar- 
velously efficient. 

"They are low-input sheep," says Connie Taylor, who has about 
100 Churros. "They eat less than 30 percent of the time, while other 
breeds will eat all the time. They are good on marginal land, consum- 
ing less food and water." 

Known for their disease resistance and longevity, they also bond 
quickly with their young at birth. "Both the ewe and the lamb recog- 
nize each other, which is not the case with other breeds," Mrs. Taylor 

There is increasing recognition among farmers and pastoralists that 
the land needs animals, especially those breeds that have adapted over 

30 The Mind's Eye 

Bin Jacques 

time in harmony with their environments. With these animals, as any 
"grass" farmer knows, there is a symbiotic relationship. This runs 
counter to purely numerical formulas used in range management. 

"Grazing and overgrazing are functions of time, not of the num- 
ber of animals," says Cindy Dvergsten, who with her husband runs a 
small, diversified farm in Durango, Colorado. A consultant in holistic, 
sustainable farming, she is leading a workshop on range management. 
"Grasses can be overgrazed, or overresled, and suffer from both." 

in olher words, abandoned land dies. Grasses suffocate, and un- 
welcome plants move in. Using intensive, rotational grazing, sheep 
can be a tool of land restoration, ameliorating the effects of drought as 
they fertilize and cultivate the soil, and helping break up monoculture 
growth, such as the ubiquitous sagebrush. 

If livestock can help restore grazing lands, certainly the Navajo- 
Churros, which live lightly on the land, hold promise for the future. 
Beyond their natural efficiencies, there are few breeds that so epito- 
mize the enduring partnership of humans, animals and land, or so 
delineate their culture. 

But the breed is still numerically fragile, and its vulnerability 
parallels the vulnerability of the Dine themselves, economically and 

In the Navajo way, balance and harmony can be restored through 
memory, through the songs and ceremonies that restore hozhd, or 
"walking in beauty." The Churros are an important part of tribal 
memory, and their restoration is having a healing effect. 

In hard times, Mrs. Kahn, the storyteller, recalls, "The sheep were 
our medicine. They would eat the flowers and the medicinal herbs. 
When you ale the mutton, it was medicine." 

For the Dine, and for all those who seek harmony among humans, 
animals and the earth, the return of the Churros is good medicine. 

The Mind's Eye 31 

Indignant I 

Graphic Arts as an Expression of Social Criticism 


David Russell 

April 29, 2002 through October 2.002 

Viewing Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a. 01.-12:30 p.m. & 1:30-4:30 p.m. 

Opening Reception: Monday, April 19, 2002, 3:J0-5 p.m. 

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 

Fine and Performing Arts Annex 
94 Porter street, North Adams, MA 

Image: Muslim Madonna by David Russell, after Georges Rouault, This Will Be 
the Last Time, Little Father! from the Miserere et Guerre series, 1927. 
Exhibition poster by Leon Peters. 

32 The Mind s Eye 

Indignant I : Graphic Arts as an 
Expression of Social Criticism 


In the final term of his senior year. Fine and Performing Arts major 
David Russell (MCLA 2002) undertook an independent study in 
which he explored the social ramifications of graphic art and re- 
sponded with his own creations. The results of his explorations 
were on display for the better part of a year at the 94 Porter Street 
Gallery. What follows is a sample from that exhibition, which in- 
volves David's art as well as his own written account of the histori- 
cal models and contemporary events that inspired it.* 

Artist's Statement 

This show is the physical documentation of an artistic, emotional 
and philosophical journey. For me this journey generated an 
awakening of sorts. Most of us, myself included, are in some 
way or another "aware" of social injustice: oppression, discrimination, 
persecution, war. We are occasionally sympathetic to its victims and 
are sometimes even victimized. However, few of us achieve the acute 
sensitivity to these social ills that the artist seems to possess. More so 
than textbooks, documentaries and photographs, artwork provides an 
emotional account of the times. It is reflective, expressive and sensi- 
tive. The artist makes history personal. Through art we feel the cha- 
otic terror of war depicted by Otto Dix, the parental love and anguish 
expressed by Kathe Kollwitz. Through the study of such works of art, 
and others of a similar human and social concern, I believe 1 have 
attained a much more lucid account of the more deplorable events in 
history and this, in turn, has made me more sensitive to current events. 
In a sense, it has opened my sympathetic, critical and, at times, "indig- 
nant eye." As a result of this journey, I have formulated new opinions, 
solidified and refined old ones and become critical of our current 
' sociopolitical climate. This journey into history has truly affected me 
and inspired me to create these pieces; they are genuine emotional 
responses to historical and current events. This has been a most en- 
riching journey. 

* The Independent Smdy was undertaken with Professor Tony Gengarelly, who has ed- 
ited Russell s written work for this publication. 

The Mind's Eye 33 

David Russell 

1. The Ride to Bankruptcy 

David Russell 


Pencil drawing on paper 

After the work of Honore Daumier 

Honore Daumier (1 808-1879) produced some 4000 lithographs over 
a 40-year period. The bulk of his work was published in a French 
antigovernment magazine known as The Caricature. Daumier was con- 
sistently republican in philosophy and this was ciearly reflected in his 
cartoons. This artist strongly believed in the ability of men to rule 
themselves via a democratic government. His lack of patience to- 
ward anyone or any institution that would see otherwise is revealed 
with relentless ferocity in his lithographs. These lithographs, with 
the exception of a decade or so of censorship, are pointed attacks, 
commentaries and satires on church, government and social institutions. 

It was my goal in The Ride to Bankruptcy (figure 1 ) to point out, as 
Daumier had, certain injustices built into corrupt socioeconomic sys- 
tems. I also attempted to compose my image in Daumier's bold style 
by imitating his use of outline, volume and caricature. 1 have depicted 
here a corporate system that has the ability to "ride" the "average Joe" 
into ruin without remorse and little fear of retribution. In this com- 
mentary, the corporate "fat cat" rides the average employee into the 
ground. The employee's knee buckles as he loses his footing, fore- 
shadowing the fall. Note the smirk of the corporate power player, as 
he is well aware that the employee will take the brunt of the collapse 
and provide a cushion to mitigate the impact of his crash. 

34 The Mind '« Eye 

David Russell 

The Mind's Eye 35 

David Russell 

2.David Russell, Fireman, 2002 

36 The Mind's Eye 

David Russell 

2. Fireman; 3. Mourners 

David Russell 

Charcoal drawings, digitally manipulated on paper 
After the work of Kathe Kollwitz 

Kathe Kollwitz (1867-1945), an eminent German Expressionist, used 
her talent for art to assail oppression, war and unemployment. The 
bulk of her earlier works (and some of her later works as well) reveals 
the hardships, hunger and misery of the German proletariat. Kollwitz's 
prints often possess a somber, maternal love and parental anguish, 
With the inception of World War I, Kathe 's subject matter shifted from 
the poor working class, and its struggles against oppression and star- 
vation, to the horror and agony of war. Kollwitz, the mother of a slain 
soldier, purged her grief in her woodcuts; the torment is compelling 
and consuming, 

I was most impressed by Kollwitz's bold style. The large heavily 
inked areas contrasting with simple white cuts are saturated with 
emotion. In my pieces Fireman (figure 2) and Mourners (figure 3), I 
attempted to mimic Kollwitz's ability to fill her bold woodcuts with 
empathy for her subjects. These pieces are meant to convey the sense 
of loss and sadness experienced by many on 9/11/01. 

3. David Russell, Mourners, 2002 

The Mind's Eye 37 

David Russell 

4. Live 

David Russell ' ■ 


Pen and ink with marker on paper 
After the work of Otto Dix 

As Kollwitz presents us with the Expressionist interpretation of World 
War 1 from a maternal point of view, Otto Dix (1891-1 969) exposes us 
to the horrors of war from the soldier's perspective. Born and raised in 
Germany, Dix answered his country's call to arms in 1914 with the 
onset of World War 1 , He was wounded several times, once almost mor- 
tally. After the wat, Dix's disillusionment began. A decorated soldier, he 
shifted his ideas to the left. He joined the artarcho-communist Dada 
movement to which other ex-soldier, antiwar activists (such as George 
Grosz) belonged. Dix was especially resemlu! of German society's deca- 
dence and its poor treatment of war veterans. In i924, he expressed his 
personal reactions in a series of etchings called The War. 

I found Dix's hard contrasts, frenzied lines and spattered aquatints 
compelling. Live (figure 4) was my attempt on 9/12/01 to express 
emotions similar to those portrayed in the War series. First, it is im- 
portant to note that, unlike Dix, I was not a firsthand witness to the 
horrid event that I have endeavored to depict. However, 9/1 1/01 in all 
of its gory reality was driven into the American psyche by the exten- 
sive media coverage that allowed a great many people to watch this 
tragedy unfold "live" on television. And I, too, was a witness. Night- 
marish visions of helpless, half-burned victims of the wreckage that 
was the World Trade Center still haunt me. In my expressionist pas- 
tiche after Dix, I wanted to convey not just the horror and ugliness of 
the awful event but also the bewilderment and shock I saw in the 
faces of the survivors. 

38 The Mind's Eye 

David Russell 

4. David Russell, Live, 2002 

The Mind's Eye 39 

David Russell 

5. The New Boss 

David Russell 

Pen and ink on paper 

After Ihe work of Thomas Nast 

When one speaks of the American graphic artist in a historical con- 
text, it is necessary to begin with Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Nast, 
considered by most to be a progenitor of the modern editorial cartoon, 
is a prime example of the impact an artist can have on his or her 
nation's history. An ardent Republican (until late in his life, when his 
commitment began to waiver), Nast slabbed at Democrats, supported 
Republican reforms, argued fiercely on the side of President Grant and 
denounced violence against minorities. 

Perhaps Nast's most notable sociopolitical impact was achieved 
during his crusade against the Tammany Ring. The Ring was a corrupt 
organization of politicians and businessmen, led by the infamous "Boss" 
Tweed, that embezzled millions of dollars from New York City during 
the late 1860s and early 1870s. Nast and his pointed cartoons were 
undoubtedly instrumental (if not ultimately responsible) for the ex- 
posure and subsequent convictions ot Tweed and his Group of Vul- 
tures (so depicted by Nast). 

The roots of the modern editorial cartoon are present in many of 
Nast's engravings. One of the best examples is an 1871 wood engrav- 
ing from Harper's Weekly titled The Brains. Here, Nast's caricature of 
Boss Tweed is punctuated with a money bag in place of the Tammany 
leader's head. Nast's use of crosshatching for contour, clean/deliber- 
ate line and exaggerated form are all characteristics of the contem- 
porary editorial cartoon. But perhaps it is the subject matter that 
contributes most to its modernity. 

The preoccupation of big business and politicians with money is 
very much at issue today. With the Enron debacle, alleged monopoly 
of the Microsoft Corporation and suspect campaign contributions, this 
"money on the mind" allegory is all too appropriate. In The New Boss 
(figure 5), t chose as my starting point Nast's substitution of a money 
bag for Boss Tweed's head. I then created my caricature of a business- 
man and substituted a computer monitor for his head — the monitor 
displays the Windows insignia to show the control the Microsoft Cor- 
poration has achieved over the computer industry. 

40 The Mind's Eye 

David Russell 

■ 5. David Russell, The New Boss, 2002 

The Mind's Eye 41 

Media, Ethics and 
Technology: Law and 
Disorder in Cyber City 


Concern for media ethics is perhaps as old as printing itself. To- 
day, traditional subject areas such as libel, privacy and fairness 
are being complicated by the emergence of the new terhnnln- 
gies, especially the Internet. A review of the literature suggests that 
the current areas of trepidation with regard to the uses of technology 
are consumer fraud, commercial and government intrusion, plagia- 
rism and related unethical practices and copyright infringement, par- 
ticularly the downloading of intellectual and media properties. 

One such area, one that may epitomize the problem, is how to 
deal with unsolicited e-mails, fondly known as "spam." These mes- 
sages are so pervasive that one source reports that 60 percent of all e- 
mail this year will be spam (Basler). Those who send those mostly 
unwanted e-mail messages, particularly the porno chieftains, are flood- 
ing our files,. including some edu accounts, with stuff that would em- 
barrass an outhouse wall. One problem is that only a few states, such 
as Virginia, have strict laws with severe penalties for violators. In Janu- 
ary 2004, however, a new federal law, the Can-Spam Act, took effect. 
Can-Spam, which stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited 
Pornography and Marketing, does not, according to one online source, 
ban unsolicited e-mail; "but it enables Internet users to remove their 
e-mail addresses from mailing lists and imposes heavy fines and prison 

42 The Mind's Eye 

Paul E. USage 

terms for those sending messages of a fraudulent or pornographic na- 
ture without warning recipients" (US Law). Citing survey results, the 
site also reported that the law, so tar, has had little effect to curb the 
problem. Overall, it's probably better to delete unwanted messages 
than to unsubscribe. As we unsubscribe, our active e-mail address may 
be sold to someone eager to send us something else we may not want. 

There's little question, however, that technology, when properly 
used, can improve our lives by helping us solve complex problems. 
Recent (now federally funded) Amber Alerts have assisted law en- 
forcement to find missing children much more rapidly than in the 
past. Also, advances in science and medicine are helping save lives or, 
in some cases, serving to correct injustices. For example, during the 
past year, new DNA evidence exonerated a man after he spent nearly 
20 years in prison tor rapes he did not commit ("DNA Exonerates") . 

E-mail and the Internet have allowed the public instantaneous 
access to research and experts in virtually all areas, and more is be- 
coming available daily. People are able to create their own Web pages 
through which they share or market their scholarly or other work, 
thus opening up all types of publishing and other scholarly opportu- 
nities. Word processing alone has helped zip along a sluggish disserta- 
tion or other works. Cable and satellite transmission has granted us 
more access to world news, events and other programming. In addi- 
tion, more people are in contact with each other over cellular phones 
than ever before, thus allowing us mobility and a way to reach help in 
emergency situations. Satellites also help us know the severity of hur- 
ricanes and other storms so that we can be better prepared. 

For good or bad, the technology has also changed the speed in 
which we can do many things from commerce to entertainment. One 
of the growing uses of the Internet and one of the less conspicuous is 
good old "panhandling" (Pearlstein). Giving to a legitimate charity or 
cause is one thing, but according to the article, people have asked for 
and received money for such things as paying off credit-card debt, a 
house down payment, marital difficulties, tuition expenses and oth- 
ers. One person even received $3300 toward breast augmentation. So 
far, the woman needing the house has received only $36, but perhaps 
more is on the way. The story concludes: "Donors say they give money 
because they relate to a cyber-beggar's plight, want to extend their 
regular charitable giving or simply can spare the cash." 

How one views uses of technology depends on a person's perspec- 
tive about how the technology is used. One analogy, offered by Eric 
Schlosser. author of Fast Food Nation, is drawn from the Cold War: 

Much like the workings of the market, technology is just 
one means toward an end, not something to be celebrated 

The Mind's Eye 43 

Paul i. LeSage 

for its own sake. The Titan II missiles built at the Lockheed 
Martin plant northwest of Colorado Springs were originally 
designed to carry nuclear warheads. Today they carry weather 
satellites into orbit. The missiles are equally effective at both 
tasks. . . . The history of the twentieth century was domi- 
nated by the struggle against totalitarian systems of state 
power. The twenty-first will no doubt be marked by a struggle 
to curtail excessive corporate power. (261 ) 

Despite the many advantages of the new technology, primarily the 
Internet, the possibility for abuse has grown to a whole new level. ID 
theft, "the No. 1 consumer fraud in the nation" (Oldenburg D2) and 
credit-card fraud are rampant. In fact, fraud on the Internet tripled in 
the year 2002, with the public losing $54 million ("Complaint"). Even 
a local man from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, got into the act recently 
when, taking advantage of a software glitch, he tried to bilk a Colo- 
rado-based computer bill-paying service of $50,000. He's being inves- 
tigated by the U.S Secret Service and faces prison time and other pen- 
alties ("Man Convicted"). 

Much personal information is also being taken right off the mil- 
lions of resumes that job seekers are encouraged to pot onto the Web. 
One news service reported that in 2002, "a person posing as a re- 
cruiter illegally downloaded about 2,400 resumes from the medical 
job Web site" The article cited 's solution, 
which is to help customers "hide information such as their names aud 
phone numbers and set up special e-mail accounts for contacts" (Keefe). 

The popular site eBay is a major target for "auction fraud," a crime 
now under state and federal investigation (Ho). In one example, a 
person sent off his $ 1 300 laptop to an eager con artist. It's becoming 
quite common to pay for something over the Internet and cither not 
receive the merchandise or not receive what was advertised. As stated 
in the article, eBay, which is cooperating with the investigation, rec- 
ommends that people use credit cards, not cash or money orders, for 
all transactions. Don't thieves like credit-card numbers? 

One of the largest ID thefts to date was reported in a May 2003 
U.S. News & World Report article. TriWest Healthcare Alliance, based in 
Arizona, was the victim of a hacker who stole some 500,000 military 
patient records, including Social Security numbers and credit-card 
numbers. The company has posted a $100,000 reward for tips in the 
case (Hawkins). The military, reportedly, is looking for a new health- 
care provider. In a victory for consumers, one company has been fined 
$ 100,000 for security breaches that exposed personal information about 
magazine subscribers (Adcox). 

U.S. predators are making use of the technology as well. In one 

44 The Mind s Eye 

Paul E. USage 

very sad case, a 20-year-old female was shot after a former high-school 
classmate paid an information broker $150 to help track her down. 
The broker is being sued; but the case is now on hold in the New 
Hampshire Supreme Court, which is wrestling with the issue of liabil- 
ity in the case (Ramer). Even the broad Clinton-era Telecommunica- 
tions Act was supposed to protect us, particularly the children, from 
"sexually explicit or indecent materials," but one expert in the field 
points out that "because the Internet law is international in scope, it is 
almost impossible to enforce such a law. What one country finds ob- 
jectionable may be quite suitable in another" (Brooks 71). 

Our government isn't going to be left out of the electronic intru- 
sion business either. It's taking this moment in history to eavesdrop 
on, trail and even detain people, especially foreigners, without indi- 
vidual or constitutional rights' being taken into consideration. In some 
cases, students have been enlisted to create dossiers on foreign profes- 
sors (Zurvis). Our nation's foreign students, particularly those in gradu- 
ate schools, are being hit hard. The Immigration and Naturalization 
Service (INS) now tracks, with the cooperation of colleges and univer- 
sities that have signed up for the plan, more than a million students 
from other countries ("INS Student Tracking"). Since January 2003, 
according to the report, schools have been "required to file reports to 
the INS within 30 days, if a student fails to show up for classes." Fur- 
ther, if students do not respond to a "notice to appear," they could be 
deported and their names added to the FBI's list of "wanted persons." 

In an intrepid move, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 
recently turned down a $404,000 grant because the federal govern- 
ment wanted to look into the background of foreign students who were 
to be working on the proposed artificial-intelligence project. MIT re- 
ports that half the graduate students in physical science and engineer- 
ing come from other countries. Some other research institutions have 
turned down grant money with similar strings attached ("Researchers"). 

The USA Patriot Act was passed in October 2001 to help fight ter- 
rorism, and we cannot deny the need to do that at. home and overseas. 
However, as one columnist pointed out, the act circumvents the Fourth 
Amendment, which deals with "unreasonable searches and seizures" 
and grants the government the right to "wiretap or detain without a 
warrant." Citing personal experience, he said that while he and a friend 
were dining in an Indian restaurant in Times Square in May 2003, the 
INS, with weapons drawn, detained and questioned everyone in the 
restaurant and temporarily took their driver's licenses. No terrorists 
were found, and he was told that it was all a big mistake, one he 
described as an apparently "legal one" (Halperin). A recent extensive 
report by Amnesty International also condemned the possible abuse 

The Mind's Bye 45 

Paul E. I.eSage 

of individual rights such as "due process, privacy, and free expression" 
under the new legislation (Gest). The ACLU has also been quite vocal 
on the issue of expanded government intrusion, particularly on the 
FBI's use of an electronic monitoring system aptly called "Carnivore." 
According to an ACLU Web site, the new system gives the federal 
government access to "every piece of electronic correspondence com- 
ing through Internet Service Providers (ISPs) required to use it." Ac- 
cording to the site, groups are petitioning the U.S. attorney general to 
ensure that only people targeted by a court order would be subject to 
"electronic government scrutiny" (ACLU). One ironic footnote is that 
the ACLU reports a 30-percent rise in membership, which the group 
attributes directly to the actions of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft 
and to a national reaction to the Patriot Act. 

One university vice president brings up another critical issue for 
colleges and universities. Speaking of the Patriot Act, he says, "The 
law places a heavier administrative responsibility on universities to 
screen and track international students while drastically limiting their 
ability to enroll foreign nationals." As a modification to the iaw, he 
proposes, among other things, that foreign students obtain the neces- 
sary visa forms from U.S. consulates and embassies, rather than from 
universities, which is now standard procedure (Rowe 135). 

A provision of the Patriot Act also allows the federal government 
to check anyone's library records or e-mails sent from such a location. 
One bright spot in all of this is that the government has dropped plans 
to have mail carriers, truck drivers and telephone-repair personnel 
spy on us. The plan, Orwellian at best, was dropped, according to one 
report, "from the Homeland Security Act after comparisons were made 
to certain communist dictatorships" (Mulrine 48). Indeed! 

Other real concerns in our digital age include plagiarism or related 
unethical practices and copyright infringement. The major prize for 
ethical faux pas probably goes to The New York Times for the Jayson 
Blair fiasco, which led to the resignation of the paper's top two editors, 
Howell Raines and Gerald Boyd. Blair used various means — especially 
cell phone and his laptop — to deceive the paper about his location and 
about the sources he was supposed to have talked to. He even fabri- 
cated a story about himself, claiming that his cousin died in the Towers 
on 9/1 1/01 (Kurtz). Though related more to traditional prim medium, 
a sizable number of authors, historians in particular, have been ac- 
cused or found guilty of plagiarism — so much so that entire policies 
on how to handle plagiarism cases have been rewritten. The Ameri- 
can Historical Society has dropped its usual lengthy, behind-closed- 
doors investigation of plagiarism complaints. Per the group, the "focus 
will be to educate historians, students and the public" in order "to 

46 The Mind's Rye 

Paul E, usage 

spotlight problems when they arise" ("Historians"). Plagiarism, how- 
ever, has become a more complicated issue as more books, articles and 
other works are put on line, tape or DVD. 

A topic akin to plagiarism is copyright infringement a major con- 
cern for both business and academia, One exhaustive text on Internet 
law cites, among hundreds of others, two unusual cases dealing with 
the "Right of Publicity." This right protects people from having their 
names, faces or voices used for commercial purposes without their 
permission. The first case, from 1993, pitted former late-night talk- 
show host johnny Carson against a porra-potty company that used 
the slogan "Hecceeere's Johnny." Carson was not amused and won 
the case. Also in '93, television personality Vanna White was success- 
ful against an ad that portrayed a "robot game hostess in a blonde 
wig and evening gown"(Brinson 74). The problem has become so 
serious that one lawyer's only job is to track down and prosecute 
Garfield the Cat infringements. 

Piracy of computer software remains an international problem, as 
does the copying of music, games, movies and other programming, 
especially from the Web. Many people continue to download protected 
music from Napsterlike sites without paying for it, but the practice is 
against the law. One science and technology author explains the mag- 
nitude of the situation: 

Piracy has become a national pastime. . . . Every day, ordi- 
nary people download billions ot files: blockbuster movies, 
cable TV shows, music, video games, software, and nearly 
every other kind of copyright-protected material available in 
digital form. . . . The movie industry estimates that fnternet 
swapping costs it more than $3.5 billion a year worldwide. 
(Terrell 41-42) 

The broadcast industry alone claims a 20-percent loss in revenue 
since 1999 due to piracy (Musgrove Al). The problem is so bad that 
the recording industry is now suing college students and other indi- 
viduals who illegally download music and continues to search for the 
violators. Two institutions, Boston College and MIT, however, are re- 
fusing to release names of student violators, though Internet Service 
Providers are now required to turn over such information under a 
federal subpoena. 

On campuses, as students and nonstudents alike continue to down- 
load music and other materials, servers are often slowed to a crawl: 
and some universities have denied studeirt access to such sites be- 
cause o( the problem. The fact is, "virtually everything on the Internet 
is copyrighted" (Chappell), including e-mails. There are some public- 

The Mind's Eye 47 

Paul E. LeSage 

domain sites, however, such as the Department of Defense and oth- 
ers, where public materials, documents, photographs and other mate- 
rials may be freely downloaded; and researchers have some access to 
historical and other documents for study. Copyrighted works also have 
constitutional protection (Mencher). Further complicating things is 
that copyrights have been extended an additional 20 years, thus pro- 
tecting a great many literary and other works from the t920s, includ- 
ing "early Mickey Mouse cartoons" (Lane Al ). Not surprisingly, Disney 
was a major lobbyist for the extension. Also confusing is that the copy- 
right symbol is no longer required. People are downloading other 
people's intellectual property from the Internet because they are un- 
aware of the rules or laws or simply because it is so easy to do. 

The problem has not gone unnoticed by our leaders. Senator Orrin 
Hatch (R-Utah) has the solution: "Destroy the computers of those who 
illegally download musk from the fnternet" {"Hatch"). During a re- 
cent hearing on copyright abuses. Hatch, chairman of the Senate Ju- 
diciary Committee, said that damaging computers might be the only 
way to teach somebody about copyrights. He also proposed, however, 
that the copyright holders (he's a composer) should not be held liable 
for the computer damage. Ironically, there were stories online ques- 
tioning possible copyright infringements on Hatch's own Web site soon 
after he announced his macabre plan. 

The best way to avoid a possible copyright infringement is to ask 
permission to use material. This is time-consuming and must often be 
done in writing. However, the "fair use" provision of the copyright 
law allows the press to legitimately use materials for criticism and re- 
view. Scholars and teachers may also use a limited amount of work 
from existing materials without permission as long as a proper citation 
is provided. 

As stated in one text on media law (should an infringement case 
be brought), "iair use" depends on the answer to lour basic questions: 
( 1 ) What is the purpose and character of the fair use? (Will a commer- 
cial or other profit be made?) (2) What is the nature of the copy- 
righted work? (Is it a new and creative work, or a compilation of facts 
such as a news report?) (3) How much of the copyrighted work is 
used? (Less than tO percent of a work is more likely to be fair use.) 
(4) What is the potential effect of the use on the market for the origi- 
nal? (Is this a substitute for the original?) (Law of the Student Press 53- 
54), Downloading materials that are clearly not in the public domain 
is not protected by "fair use." However, works whose copyright has 
expired or has not been renewed may be safely used. 

As stipulated in the 1 995 Copyright Primer for Librarians and Educa- 
tors, teachers may make one copy of a work for themselves and one 

48 The Mind's Eye 

Paul g. LeSagt 

for each person in a class or in multiple sections of the same class; but 
these handouts are legal for one semester only, unless permission is 
sought. This goes for workbooks and guides available for student pur- 
chase. The law is a bit more lenient with the use of current newspaper 
articles in the classroom. Permission from students must also be ob- 
tained before their works are placed on Web sites. Libraries may back 
up software or make a copy of a book that cannot be replaced after all 
attempts to do so have been exhausted. Programs taped off the air 
may be used fur 45 days, then destroyed. Also according to the Primer, 
through a f995 change in the law, "stale entities, agencies, and em- 
ployees were not immune from suits for copyright infringements and 
could be held liable for copyright violations" (Bruwelheide If). Any- 
one associated with a case could be named in a lawsuit. 

States also have specific laws pertaining to copyright. According 
to the Massachusetts General Laws Annotated, sound recordings and 
live performances are protected; and punishment may include prison 
time and heavy fines. With the conviction of the guilty party, all illegal 
copies and the recording devices and other equipment may also be 
seized or destroyed. These intellectual-rights protections may be found 
sandwiched in the codes between a law on trespassing and one on 
"carrying away or defacing milk cans belonging to others." 

Colleges and universities often have their own statements about 
copyright, At Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), copy- 
rights are protected by the following statement, which may be found 
in the 2002-2003 annua) telephone directory; "The copyright law of 
the United States Title f 7 (United States Code) governs the making of 
photo copies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials." Ac- 
cording to the policy, the college may also refuse copying requests that 
may violate the law. 

Just who owns what in business, in academia and elsewhere is 
confusing. For the most part, if a person creates something for a par- 
ticular company (work for hire), the company often retains the rights, 
fn journalism, fu 1 1- ti rn e employees retain their rights, which allow them 
to sell work online or elsewhere. Not so for all part-time employees, 
however, as "stringers" (part-timers) at The New York Times found out. 
The newspaper can resell or reuse their work as much as it wants 
without paying additional royalties. In academics, a May 5, 2003, let- 
ter of memorandum of agreement between the Board of Higher Edu- 
cation and the Massachusetts Teachers Association and its affiliates 
spelled out rights of Massachusetts' professors and librarians, Provided 
the funding source is not an outside grant, or unless a separate agree- 
ment has been reached, association members may keep intellectual 
property rights for a myriad of works including books, academic 

The Mind's Eye 49 

Paul E. LeSage 

papers, dissertations, musical compositions, artwork, software programs 
and others. However, members can't claim school catalogs or com- 
mittee reports that the institutions produce or charge schools or stu- 
dents a lee to use the protected material. 

In conclusion, technology has changed the way we live. It has 
even changed the way we do politics. For example, in 2003, Demo- 
cratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean raised, according to one ar- 
ticle, $41 million, mostly online, breaking Bill Clinton's record for 
raising funds in one quarter (Faler). Although technology has en- 
hanced our lives, it has, at the same time, given us great personal and 
professional cause for concern. We are no safer on the Internet from 
fraud, manipulation or intrusion into our personal lives than anywhere 

Two years ago, MCLA produced The Box Set, a play set in the fifties 
about a company that has decided to install a large and intimidating 
main-frame computer. For most of the play, the employees worry about 
being replaced by the machine that they fear. The antagonist repre- 
sents a post-World War II computer champion. At the end of the play, 
the people realize that the computer is there only to help them and 
that they have worried needlessly about losing their jobs. Even the 
play's Mr. Computer seems to mellow a bit toward the end. Today, 
given that such a person is the richest man in the world, we indeed 
have concerns for the role technology plays in our lives. From the 
fantastic computer digitization in movies such as The Hulk (a film ille- 
gally released on the Internet) to the space rovers on Mars, we have 
benefited greatly from such knowledge. At the same time, we have 
left ourselves open to various types of abuse, such as !D theft and 
government intrusion into our personal lives. We must take care to 
protect ourselves and our assets and property from electronic charla- 
tans. We must continue to argue against government intrusion into 
our libraries and into our lives. There is law and there is disorder; and 
we should know the difference. If there are poor laws and policies, we 
must act to effect change in them. Most of all, we should respect the 
power and the responsibility entrusted to us as U.S. citizens in this 
post-9/1 1/01 world. 

Many thanks to Linda Kaufmann, MCLA Public Services Librarian, 
for her assistance on this project. 

50 The Mind's Eye 

Paul E. LeSage 

Works Cited 

ACLU. "Truthout Issues." Online 7 Apr. 2003. Available 0U0l94.ACLU.e-Privacy.htm. 
Adcox. Seanna. "Company Pays $100,000 for Exposing Subscribers' 

Info Online." Berkshire Eagle 29 Aug. 2002: A10. 
Basler, Barbara. "Frazzled by Junk E-Mail?" AARP Bulletin Feb. 2004: 10. 
Brinson, Dianne, and Mark Radcliffe. Internet Law and Business Rand- 

book. Palo Alto, CA: Roberts, 2000. 
Brooks, Brian S. Journalism in the Information Age. Boston: Allyn, 1997, 
Bruwelheide, Janis. The Copyright Primer for Librarians and Educators. 

Washington, DC: American Library Association, 1995. 
Chappell, Steven. College Media Advisers Convention presenter: Fall 

NYC Conference: Mar. 22, 2003. 
"Complaint of Net Fraud Tripled Over the Past Year." Berkshire Eagle 

10 Apr. 2003: Dl. 
"DNA Exonerates Man After 19 Years in Jail." Berkshire Eagle 4 Apr, 

2003: A12. 

Faler, Brian. "Dean Campaign's Net Impact Remains a Question for 
Future." Berkshire Eagle 20 Feb. 2004: A7. 

Gest, Justin. Amnesty International Decries Terror War Fallout." Berk- 
shire Eagle 29 May 2003: A3. 

Halperin. Jason. "Unpatriotic Act." Berkshire Eagle i2 May 2003: A5. 

"Hatch: Fry Downloaded' Computers." Berkshire Eagle 18 June 2003: A3. 

Hawkins, Dana. "Hide and They Can'! Seek." U.S. News e 1 WorldReport 
19 May 2003: 39. 

"Historians Change Plagiarism Policy." Berkshire Eagle 1 June 2003: A2. 
Ho, David. "Internet Fraud Targeted in Federal-State Effort." Berkshire 

Eagle 1 May 2003: DJ. 
"INS Student Tracking Goes Online." Berkshire Eagle 3 July 2002: A3. 
Keele, Bob. "Privacy Pitfalls of Online Resumes." Berkshire Eagle 25 

Feb. 2003: Dl. 

Kurt?., Howard, "N.Y. Times Admits Fraud, Deception," Berkshire Eagle 
1 3 May 2003: C4. 

Lane, Charles. "Supreme Court Upholds Copyright Law Extension." 
Berkshire Eagle 16 Jan. 2003: A1+. 

Law of the Student Press- 2nd ed. Arlington, VA: Student Press Law Cen- 
ter, 1994. 

"Man Convicted of Bilking Online Bill-Paying Service." Berkshire Eagle 

17 May 2003: B8. 
Mencher, Melvin. News Reporting and Writing. 8th ed. New York: 

McGraw. 2000. 

The Mind's Eye 51 

Paul E. LeSage 

Mulrine, Anna. 'The Power of Secrets.* U.S. News & World Report 27 
Jan. 2003: 48-49. 

Musgrove, Mike. "Recording Industry to Go After File Sharers." Berk- 
shire Eagle 26 June 2003: A1+. 

Oldenburg, Don. "Identity Theft: It Pays toBe Diligent." Berkshire Eagle 
10 Feb. 2003: Dl. 

Pearlstein, Joanna. "Panhandling on the Web." Berkshire Eagle 8 Feb. 
2003: DU. 

Ranter, Holly. "Parents Trying to Stop Internet Brokers from Selling 

Personal Data." Berkshire Eagle 30 Dec. 2002: A2. 
"Researchers Hit Federal Demands." Berkshire Eagle 3 Jan. 2003: A3. 
Rowe, David. "Ex-Patriots: The Effects of Anti-Terrorism Legislation." 

Thought and Aetion 18 (Fail 2002): 135-143. 
Sdilosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation. Boston: Houghton, 2001. 
Terrell, Kenneth. "A Nation of Pirates." U.S. News & World Report 14 

July 2003: 41-46. 
"US Law Has Not Canned Spam." Online 3 Mar. 2004. Available http:/ 

Zurvis, Stephen. Interview. " Case Against the War in Iraq." National Public 
Radio. WAMC, Albany II Mar. 2003. 

Useful sites 

52 The Mind's Eye 

Book Review 

Invisible Women: A 
Look at the Lives of 
Six Teen Mothers in 

Growing Up Fast by Joanna Upper 
New York: Picador, 2003 


Too young to vote, most teenage girls have no political voice, 
and when it conies to important debates about the very cir- 
cumstances that define their lives, to a large extent they re- 
main silent and excluded. Whenever teenage parenthood is 
filtered through the media, so often the national spotlight 
remains fixed on the moral and theoretical battles waged 
between liberals and conservatives. Each side comes to the 
table armed with competing agendas regarding sex educa- 
tion, contraception, abortion, family values, and the rela- 
tionship between church and state. In contrast, most preg- 
nant and parenting teens remain sequestered on the fringes 
of society, represented as statistics, deprived of a forum to 
refute those who stereotype them, positioned helplessly as 
scapegoats, and powerless to contradict those who have writ- 
ten them off as ignorant, irresponsible youngsters with 
doomed futures. (Lipper Growing 325-326) 

The Mind's Eye 53 

Richard Taskin 

"1 began this project without any agenda other than curiosity about 
the lives of teen mothers, which at the outset, I knew very little about" 
{Growing 369). This is how Joanna Lipper describes her decision to 
first make a short film, take pictures and then write Growing Up 
Fast, an inside look at the lives of six teenage mothers in Pittsfield, 

A Harvard graduate, Lipper brings an unusual array of tools to her 
work: She has an M. Sc. in Psychoanalytic Development from the Anna 
Freud Center and is a documentary filmmaker by trade. Lipper met 
Berkshire County resident and feminist psychologist Carol Gilligan after 
a screening of Lipper's first documentary. Inside Out: Portraits of Chil- 
dren. Gilligan invited Lipper to videotape a workshop she cotaught at 
the Teen Parent Program, an alternative high school for pregnant and 
parent teens in Pittsfield. Lipper spent four years with her subjects, 
who evidently trusted her sufficiently to give an intimate view of their 
lives and thinking. 

Among local readers,* the most controversial chapter of the book 
is the first: "Pittsfield." The title page itself is adorned with a telling 
photograph of a one-way sign. It attempts to situate the lives of these 
young women in the context of the economic decline and dislocation 
the community has sulfered in recent decades. G.E. was Pittsfield and 
Pittsfield was G.E. for decades until Jack Welch, who lived and golfed 
in Pittsfield before he became CEO of G.E. and helped introduce glo- 
balization and downsizing, pulled the plug. Staggering from an eco- 
nomic depression, a toxic-waste crisis, inept leadership, an influx of 
drugs and drag dealers, a North Street gone bust, Pittsfield has be- 
come in an Emersonian sense a representative city: one that embodies 
certain extreme tendencies of our times. 

It is perhaps humiliating to realize that on'e lives amidst such con- 
ditions. Yet we in North Adams share that sense of being put down, 
singled out. Time magazine mentioned North Adams in a cover story 
on teen pregnancy some two decades ago. About 10 years ago, I at- 
tended a winter-study theater project ai Williams where the students 
had a pregnant teenager being crowned Miss North Adams. I remem- 
ber being bemused at the time that the play was directed by a native of 
South Africa. 

Yet Lipper's work makes it clear to this reader that she does not 

•See, for example, Ruth Bass. The Berkshire Eagle January 26, 2004, and Liz Levine, The 
Berkshire Eagle February 20, 2004. The defensive and condescending tone of Bass and 
I evine toward Lipper arid her subject manor calls to mind the Communist writer Mike 
Gold's observation in the 1950s about haughty Boston matrons boarding a streetcar full 
of swarthy proletarians. 

54 The Mind's Eye 

Richard Taskin 

believe lhai it is G.E.'s "fault" that Pittsfieid has a high rate of teen 
pregnancy any more, say, than it is Sprague Electric's "fault" that on 
the math section of the 2002 MCAT exams, 88 percent of the chil- 
dren at the Come Middle School in North Adams either failed or were 
found in need of improvement (Berkshire). Pittsfield's economic con- 
dition may, indeed, be a tribute to the "clear evidence of Jack Welch's 
industrial statesmanship" (Peretz), but only two of the women pro- 
filed had a family connection to G.E. Rather, the book looks into the 
lives of the young women and allows them to be heard on their own 

What we have are stories. 

Liz's mother frequently kept her home from school because she 
was lonely and wanted her daughter to wait on her. Sometimes she 
would take her out onto the street to find empty bottles so she could 
buy cigarettes. Liz's biological father abandoned her, and one of her 
mom's many boyfriends sexually assaulted her. She went to court and 
testified against the man and he was put in jail, but eventually her 
mother resented Liz for coming forward, and her biological father 
sided with the perpetrator. From about the age of 1 2, over a four- 
year period, Liz lived in 15-20 foster homes between Springfield and 
Pittsfield. At 13, she befriended members of the Latin Kings gang in 
Springfield. The men made her feel safe and were attractive to her. A 
20-year-old man was her first sexual partner. 

Shayla was herself the daughter of a teenage mother and father. 
Her parents fought frequently and Dad eventually did some jail time, 
but his anger and violence left Shayla with great feelings of worthless- 
ness. Her hostility toward her father, a black man who converted to 
Islam in jail, led her to rebel by seeking romantic relationships with 
white boys, something her father had forbidden. One of them, C. J., 
had an upbringing every bit as tumultuous as Shayla's, and despite his 
history of explosive anger that led to restraining orders, the two had a 
relationship that resulted in a child. "I felt that if 1 had a baby, it would 
change things," Shayla explains. "I thought it would make my life a 
lot better, not only in my relationship with C. J. but with my friends. 
1 thought it would bring my popularity up because people would be, 
like, 'Hey, she's got a baby, and that's cool'" (Lipper Growing 176). 

Why did Shayla and Liz get pregnant? Lipper is drawn to child- 
hood sexual abuse, physical abuse and witnessing domestic violence 
as critical developmental factors making young women vulnerable to 
early pregnancy. Above and beyond whether the ages of the girls sub. 

The Mind's Eye 55 

Richard Taskin 

jected the fathers to charges of statutory rape, this book makes it clear 
that the issue of consent within relationships is never clearly defined 
and at times the sexual conquest of younger girls by older men comes 
perilously close to rape. 

One issue Lipper addresses with intellectual honesty is abortion. 
She believes that the overwhelming majority (more than SO percent) 
of teenagers who bring pregnancy to term are from poor and disad- 
vantaged backgrounds (Lipper "Connection"). Some of the girls object 
to abortion on religious grounds, others see their decision to become 
teenage mothers as a validation of their own mothers' choice, and 
often the baby provides a short-term bonding experience for mother 
and grandmother. 

Indeed, in depicting the psychological circumstances leading to teen 
pregnancy — the desire for connection with others, a yearning to heal 
the breach between mother and daughter that at times stems from 
abuse from a male in the home, the waves of depression that so many 
of the poor suffer and a constant need for medication — Growing Up 
Fast is particularly insightful. Noting the horrendous experience of Liz 
and others in the foster-care system, Lipper is highly critical of the 
performance of the Department ol Social Services in protecting chil- 
dren from abuse in the home. 

Lipper also offers rich insight into the relationships between the 
mothers and fathers of the babies. At one point, she cites 60 police 
incidents involving the fathers of the girls whose lives are depicted in 
this book. She also asks the question that dogs everyone involved in 
the criminal-justice system who represents, as I frequently do, men 
accused of domestic assault and battery: Why do the women not only 
stay with these men but also frequently adamantly deny that any abuse 
has taken place, despite often strong evidence to the contrary? Stories 
like Colleen's sound like a composite of a number of young people 
with whom I've worked. 

Colleen's mom was a medical assistant, her dad an alcoholic, and 
the two fought frequently. Her boyfriend Ryan grew up thinking his 
abusive stepfather was his biological dad and, as a child, witnessed 
episodes of domestic violence. Eventually, he beat his mother's boy- 
friend, and when Colleen got pregnant, he was addicted to heroin. 
Late in her pregnancy, Ryan kicked Colleen in the stomach, and 
although she didn't want to press charges, Ryan was already on pro- 
bation and served a year in jail. Colleen took their newborn son to the 
old Second Street Jail in Pittsfield to meet Dad. Even while incarcer- 
ated, Ryan remained abusive and controlling. Lipper sees that the fan- 
tasy world young girls construct becomes an alternative redemptive 
fantasy to the violence and chaos in their actual relationships. There is 

56 The Mind s Eye 

Richard Taskin 

always the hope, somehow, that Ryan can get sober and all his other 
problems will melt away. "In the same way that Ryan depended on 
heroin," Lipper tells us, "Colleen led off her fantasies of a fairy-tale 
romance and relied on them to transport her far away from an acutely 
painful reality" (Growing 150). 

Eventually, Colleen gets little help from Ryan raising her son, who 
has a diagnosis of mental retardation. Colleen's story is one in which 
the child plays something of a healing role within the fractured family. 
The other girls seem exhausted by their experience of long days of 
child care and school, and long working hours for low wages. Most 
seem to share the attitude that getting off welfare is a significant life 
achievement. Whatever else it has done, the 1996 Welfare Reform 
Act has made work a necessity in the lives of these moms and has also 
made them much more willing to take their children's fathers to court 
for nonsupport. The aspirations of teen moms for a better life for these 
children is reflected in the unusual names the children bear — Marcus, 
Kaliegh, Leeah. Jaiden — which in and of themselves reflect a yearn- 
ing to believe that each child is special. 

What about the boys? About the fathers of the children, the book 
is far less sanguine. With the exception of Peter, who has remained 
with Liz in a committed relationship lor some time, the majority of 
boys seem locked into lives of depression, substance abuse, low self- 
esteem and minimal if any work experience. For far too many, I'm 
afraid, jail is often the safest place they can be. They are the Lost Boys. 
Many are visiting on their children the same pattern of abuse and 
neglect that was visited on them, and simply lack the capacity to change. 
Others, however, are eminently salvageable, and it will require some- 
thing of a revolution in consciousness akin to the women's movement 
of the past three decades to figure out what can be done for them. 

The linal chapter of the book, "Community," outlines a couple of 
programs that have shown promise in preventing teen pregnancy. 
Certainly, after-school programs and other attempts to bring structure 
and self-esteem into the lives of young people have enormous poten- 
tial, but Growing Up Fast takes the story to today, when a depressed 
state and national economy make public funding lor such programs 
perilous. Lipper praises the role of foundations in funding pilot pro- 
grams, but in some ways, the optimism seems as anachronistic as her 
generous assessment of former Pittsfield mayor Sara Hathaway. Al- 
though some progress has been made in curbing teen pregnancy in 
recent years, programs that have demonstrated positive results are 
vulnerable amidst the state budget crisis. The Swift and Romney ad- 
ministration cut and eliminated programs that were designed to pre- 
vent teen pregnancy. The arrival of charter schools has compounded a 

The Mind's Eye 57 

Richard Taskin 

crisis of funding in the public school system with fears that they will 
foster greater class stratification. 

Growing Up Fast raises important questions about the lives of the 
poor and their relationship to their community. As such, it is a book 
ol immediate interest to us as residents of Berkshire County and should 
be required reading for social workers, teachers, lawyers, police and 
others who will find t fiai the stories resonate with their own work 
experience. In the spring of 2004, the Democratic presidential candi- 
dacy of John Edwards resonated strongly among primary voters with 
a description of two Americas: Growing Up Fast describes the 21st-cen- 
tury version of the other America, our America. 

Works Cited 

Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter School Web site, 1 Feb. 2004. 
Lipper, Joanna. Growing Up Fast. New York: Picador, 2003. 

. "The Connection." Interview. WBUR-FM, Boston. 2 1 Jan. 2004. 

Peretz, Martin. "Rust Proof." The New Republic Online 20 Nov. 2003. 

58 The Mind's Eye 

Book Review 

A Bard for the Senses 
and the Intellect 

Shakespeare, as Literary Dramatist by Lukas Erne 
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003 


Occasionally, I come across a scholarly work lhat not only 
changes the way I think about a particular subject but also 
answers those niggling doubts that plague me while I hold 
forth to my students. Lukas Erne's Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist is 
one such book. 

Roughly, two problems rear their amorphous heads when I teach 
Shakespeare. First, why is it that no single production, say of Henry V 
or Hamlet, measures up to the imagined play conjured up by a close 
study of the printed words? Even critically acclaimed productions — 
for example, at the Globe Theatre in London. — do not quite encom- 
pass all the rich complexities afforded by close study. As a teacher, 1 
reflexively insist that we must pay close attention to the text, savor 
the rich metaphorical resonance of the language. And that brings me 
to the second question: Is close reading, a legacy of the tradition of 
New Criticism, appropriate for drama? After all. New Critics mostly 
sharpened their critical knives on short poems. However, I also hap- 
pen to be'lieve that dose and careful reading is an intellectual disci- 

TTie Mind's Eye 59 

Mee ra Tamaya 

pline that not only deepens our experience of literature, it provides 
good exercise for the little gray cells: Close reading trains us to pay 
attention to details and increases our mental alertness in general. 

Flaubert Famously said, "Madame Bovary, c'est moi." Well, with 
my propensity for self-doubt, I have often said to myself, "Hamlet, 
c'est moi. " So even while I extol the virtues of close reading, I am beset 
by doubts about its suitability for drama, ff, as performance-oriented 
critics insist, Shakespeare's plays are primarily scripts meant for the 
stage, then close reading may not be absolutely essential for words 
that are meant to be heard in the theater, rather than read in the 
privacy of the study- 
In recent years, performance-oriented critics have been in the as- 
cendant. These critics insist that Shakespeare was, first and foremost, 
a scriptwriter whose major concerns were stage performance and box- 
office success. They insist that the publication and canonization of 
Shakespeare as a literary artist was a much later development. Lukas 
Erne's book seeks to counteract this view by arguing that Shakespeare 
was not unaware of his status as a literary figure. He contends that 
Shakespeare's plays were both performed on the stage and read in the 
privacy of the study by his aristocratic patrons. 

As Erne puts it, "To simplify matters, performance tends to speak 
to the senses, while a printed text activates the intellect' (23). And 1 
might add, stimulates the imagination, which is maybe why the imag- 
ined play seems far better than an actual production. Imagination is 
infinite, while reality, regrettably, is very circumscribed. Also, while 
watching the play, words speed by encased in action and spectacle, 
making it impossible to stop and mull over their nuances, as you can 
when you ponder the printed words. 

Lurking under the differences between performance criticism and 
literary scrutiny are two very different assumptions. The former em- 
phasizes the speed at which Shakespeare composed, turning out 
roughly two plays a year, with his eye firmly fixed, not on future liter- 
ary immortality but on ticket sales. There is no disputing that 
Shakespeare was a remarkably successful playwright who was able to 
buy his father a coat of arms in f 597, thus acquiring the social status 
of a "gentleman." He was also able to buy the second biggest house in 
his hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon, and retire in considerable finan- 
cial comfort. Alexander Pope neatly sums up this image of Shakespeare 
as a Hollywood-style scriptwriter with no interest in literary glory: 
"Shakespeare . . . lor gain, not glory wing'd his roving flight,/ And 
grew Immortal in our own despight" (79). This myth also contributes 
to the idea of Shakespeare as an artless genius who never expunged 
or revised a word. 

60 The Mind's Eye 

Meera Tamaya 

Erne's meticulously researched, subtly argued, thesis is that since 
many of his plays were published about two years after they were 
performed, and excerpts from his plays were included in Elizabethan 
anthologies such as Francis Meres' Palladis Tamia along with work by 
established poets such as Spenser and Sidney, Shakespeare was well 
aware of his own status as a literary artist whose plays were read as 
well as performed. Erne makes the case that wealthy aristocratic pa- 
trons acquired printed editions of Shakespeare's plays for their librar- 
ies. Indeed, the striking picture on the cover of the book is that of a 
full-length portrait ol Sir John Suckling holding a Folio edition open 
at a page titled Hamlet, painted by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (c, 1660). He 
also points out that in his sonnets, Shakespeare makes a passionately 
insistent case for the immortality of poetry while bemoaning the brev- 
ity of life. 

The summing up of the scholarly debate about the provenance 
and variations in the earliest extant editions of Shakespeare's plays is 
both masterly and judicious. While the collected edition known as the 
First Folio was published in 1623, eight years after Shakespeare's death, 
shorter versions of six plays — known as Quarto 1 and Quarto 2 — were 
printed during his lifetime. The critic Alfred W. Pollard, in his 1909 
bibliographical study, termed Q 1 a "bad" Quarto, under the assump- 
tion that the "bad" Quartos were either reconstructions from memory 
or pirated copies meant to be staged in the provinces for presumably 
less sophisticated audiences. This denigration of Quarto 1 as the "bad" 
Quarto became scholarly orthodoxy. However, most notably, Peter 
Blayney and Scott McMiflin, among others, have disputed that narra- 
tive, suggesting that the shorter Q 1 may actually have been abbrevi- 
ated by Shakespeare himself, in order to make his longer first drafts 
more suitable for the stage. Erne's illuminating contribution to this 
debate rests mainly on detailed analysis of the variant texts of three 
of Shakespeare's most popular plays: Romeo and Juliet, Henry V and 

In the (inal chapter, titled "Theatricality, Literariness and the Texts 
of Romeo and Juliet, Henry Vand Hamlet," Erne follows Walter Ong in 
locating drama at the intersection of "orality and literariness." He points 
out that in ancient Greece, while epic and lyric genres were oral forms 
meant for recitation, drama was both written and orally performed. 
Erne argues that the three plays, extant in shorter theatrical and longer 
literary versions, inhabit this trajectory from oral to print culture. In 
this scenario, according to Erne, the shorter so-called "bad" Quarto 1 
may not have been pirated or reconstructed from memory but re- 
worked by Shakespeare from a longer literary draft into a more com- 

The Mind's Eye 61 

Meera Tamaya 

pact, speeded-up version, more suitable for "two hours' traffic of our 

Erne's detailed analysis of the differences between Q f, Q 2 and 
Folio editions of Hamlet are particularly persuasive and illuminating. 
He demonstrates that the shorter Q 1 version of Hamlet omits the me- 
andering discursive nature of the Folio edition. Some scenes in which 
Hamlet's aborted trip to England is narrated in disparate units are trimmed 
and fused together, The Q 1 speeds up the action while the Folio edition 
presents the complex interiority of the prince, ft is the latter introspec- 
tive, enigmatic Hamlet who appeals to post-Freudian readers. His ex- 
tended ruminations, simultaneously melancholy and witty, make the 
play a delight to study at our leisure. 

This explanation provides plausible answers to all those niggling 
questions about the appropriateness of close reading and the gener- 
ally unsatisfying nature of stage and movie productions. Close read- 
ing is quite in order if Shakespeare was not only a Hollywood-style 
scriptwriter churning out plays at great speed but also a conscious 
literary artist who achieved an unmatched grace of language. Mel 
Gibson's Mad Max Hamlet, and Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet on ste- 
roids can strut their stuff while the printed text will continue to pro- 
vide rich food for thought and imagination. 

62 The Mind's Eye 


Ben Jacques teaches journalism and creative writing at Massachusetts 
College of Liberal Arts, He has written about small-scale farming and 
heritage-breed livestock for several publications, including Ametkas, 
Orion Afield, Maine Times and World Ark. He has designed and teaches 
a creative arts core course, The Good Earth: the Agrarian Theme in 
Literature and Art. 

Paul E. LeSage has taught at MCI. A since 1981. A member of the 
English/Communications Department, he regularly teaches journalism, 
business writing and literature. He is currently teaching a senior seminar 
in media ethics. He spent a recent sabbatical researching media ethics 
and the new technologies. 

David Russell graduated Magna Cum Laude from Massachusetts 
College of Liberal Arts in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in fine and 
performing arts. He currently works at the Boston Herald as an 
infographics specialist and moonlights as a freelance illustrator and 

Shirleen Selim graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2002 and 
is currently studying at the University of York, where she hopes to 
soon complete an M.A. in Medieval English Literature. While at 
Mount Holyoke, she had pieces appear in Chimera, the student-run 
magazine belonging to Bellatrix, the school's science fiction/ fantasy 
club, and contributed to Verbosity, the literary magazine sponsored by 
the MHC English Department. 

Meera Tamaya is professor emerita ol English at Massachusetts 
College of Liberal Arts, where she taught courses on Shakespeare and 
other distinguished writers. Her most recent book is An Interpretation 
of Hamlet 'Based on Recent Development 1 : in Cognitive Studies. She is the 

The Mind's Eye 63 

author of the book Colonial Detection: H. R. F. Keating, as well as articles 
on John Sherwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood, Barbara Pyrn 
and Shakespeare. 

Rtchiard Taskin is an attorney in North Adams who is an adjunct 
instructor at the College. Much of his practice consists of representing 
indigent defendants in District, Juvenile and Superior Court. He would 
like to see some of his juvenile clients ordered to read tipper's book 
as a condition of probation. 

64 The Minds Eye 

Mind's Eye 

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The Mind's Eye 
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